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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Calories in...calories out..or not

Calories in calories out.  Is that kind of like in one ear and out the other? You ate something, but you exercised so those calories are gone as if you had never ingested them? Some one told you something but you didn't really listen and now those words are gone as if they were never spoken? Hmmm, pretty sure it doesn't work that way.  Whether you heard those words or not, they were spoken.  If you took those calories in then you took them in- regardless of your exercise state. 

If calories in calories out were true then a calorie must equal a calorie.. Twinkie or chicken breast, it wouldn’t matter. All calories must be the same; trust me on this, they are not.  More on that later.  For now let's just think about this: for calories in calories out to hold true, those calories must exist in a vacuum.  They cannot affect or be affected by any system in the body.  If they are affected or do affect one (or more systems) body then we must look at the result of those effects and factor those results in to the equation as well.  Just to draw a picture of this, let's look at calories as a liquid. For calories in, calories out to hold true that liquid would need to be something like water. We pour 8 ounces of water into a Styrofoam cup and then pour 8 ounces out. The cup is empty. Calories are NOT like water they affect the system into which they are introduced.  Pour 8 ounces of sulfuric acid in a Styrofoam cup...and you have no more cup.  The acid has an effect on the things it comes in contact with, just like calories do. 

Maybe a bank account is a better example. You put money in and either earn interest or suffer fees and penalties. The money you put in doesn’t just sit there.  The same thing happens when we eat.  We take food in.  It affects our body and is affected by our body.  A cascade of events takes place causing you to earn interest (gain weight) or suffer a loss (lose weight).  Money, just like calories, does not exist in a vacuum.

If calories in calories out DID work, then 1 out of 5 children and 2 out of 3 adults in this country would not be obese. If it were as simple as burn more, eat less, or both then it would be that simple.  But it isn’t.  If calories in calories out DID work then there wouldn’t be a billion dollar weight loss industry.  But there is.  If calories in calories out DID work then all of the people working their butts off on the cardio equipment at the gym would be lean. But they aren’t. If calories in calories out DID work then you wouldn’t be reading this.  But you are.

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