Thursday, 14 August 2014

Dear ItsTheWoo, how do you do?

This post is attacking what I consider to be faulty reasoning. It's not a personal attack on ItsTheWoo, who I like (even though she drives me up the wall, sometimes!).

See What I believe and what I don't.
The basic The Energy Balance Equation:- Change in body stores = Ein - Eout
For a detailed mathematical analysis of weight change, see Completing the trine: vive la différence!

From Back to black, CIAB, pharmaceutical drug deficiencies & nerds:-
Where body weight is concerned, calories count (but don't bother trying to count them).
Where body composition is concerned, partitioning counts.
Where health is concerned, macronutrient ratios, EFAs, minerals, vitamins & lifestyles count.

The faulty reasoning is in Dear Nigel and other CICO zealots: you are ignorant. Charming!

I'll quote passages from it and refute them, one by one.

  • "With a zero caloric deficit, there is zero weight change"
"FACT: Calories neither determine weight OR body composition with certainty. Nigel / some CICO zealots may agree body composition changes are privy to nutrition, but wt is 100% controlled by calories. This is something they pretty much made up and biological science does not at all support this idea. Calories neither control body composition OR body weight/mass with any certainty. The bulk consumed with fork and spoon does not need to stick on your body in the form of a mass laden tissue, ever."
Calories determine weight change. See Bray et al shows that a calorie *is* a calorie (where weight change is concerned). It would have been nice if Fig. 6 had contained a plot of "Effect of energy intake on change in body weight", but it didn't.
LBM = Lean Body Mass
FM = Fat Mass = Body Fat

Weight change = LBM change + FM change
Weight change varies from ~+3.5kg (@ +2,500kJ/d) to ~+9.1kg (@ +5,900kJ/d).
(Maximum weight increase)/(minimum weight increase) = 2.6
(Maximum kJ/day increase)/(minimum kJ/day increase) = 2.36
∴ A calorie IS a calorie (where weight change is concerned).
Insufficient protein can result in loss of LBM (bad).

The main thrust of ItsTheWoo's argument is that inter-personal variations in weight gain from subject to subject, invalidates Bray's conclusion. It doesn't.
Some subjects become more energetic on a 40% caloric surplus, which increases their NEAT & TEA, which increases their Eout, which reduces their weight gain.
Some subjects don't change their energy on a 40% caloric surplus, which doesn't change their NEAT & TEA, which results in intermediate weight gain.
Some subjects become less energetic on a 40% caloric surplus, which decreases their NEAT & TEA, which decreases their Eout, which increases their weight gain.

I believe that the Insulin Sensitivity (IS) of the subject determines which category they fall into and by how much. The higher the IS, the higher the energy, as high IS results in low serum insulin, which minimises sedation. Energy Balance always applies.

I've never stated that Calories exactly determine weight change. That's a strawman.
I've never stated that Calories determine body composition. That's a strawman.

  •  " Every subject [in bray's overfeeding study] gained weight (mostly fat mass) during the 40% energy excess overfeeding period. "
"Again, making crap up. There is NO RULE IN BIOLOGY which states all consumed energy must be retained as body mass. Indeed most typical people gain fat during overfeeding (with great resistance/inefficiency of fat gain), but it is indeed possible to hardly gain any or none at all as in constitutional thinness. What happens during calorie consumption among different people (and perhaps, different DIETS and different TIMES and different ENDOCRINE situations...) is a wild card determined by the biology i.e. neuroendocrine functions of the animal in question. There is NOTHING about physics which reflects / informs physiology other than the basic fact the latter exists within the former (which, again, tells us NOTHING ultimately). How organisms process consumed nutrition is not a physics question. There is no freakin' law of physics or physiology for that matter which states nom nom time = thigh chub. You don't have to wear that pizza as a popeye's muscle or as a shelf butt."
Somewhere within all of the irrelevant waffle about rules & laws, ItsTheWoo raises an interesting point. Although a caloric surplus is always required for weight gain, eating more Calories can sometimes result in zero weight gain. How so? From ItsTheWoo's link:-
"Conclusion: This data is the first to demonstrate a resistance to weight gain in constitutional thinness (CT) population in response to 4-week fat overfeeding, associated with an increase in resting energy expenditure and an emphasised anorexigenic hormonal profile.
In CT people, their energy expenditure increases in line with their energy intake. Therefore, even though they're eating more Calories, there's no caloric surplus, therefore there's no weight gain. Energy Balance always applies.

  • "Yes, kcals do get wasted. You don't understand things quantitatively i.e. how many kcals get wasted."
"I know anxious/obsessional people like the safe feeling of balancing calories. The fact reality is more complex and you can't just enter things in a phone app and be ASSURED of what is going on in your body, doesn't invalidate the truth of the fact metabolic reactions are more complex THAN CALORIES.

Just because it is *impossible* for a reasonable free living human to quantify all of the metabolic, endocrine, nervous system factors influencing adipocyte growth changes does not mean they don't fucking exist."
ItsTheWoo left out my calculations. Here they are:-"if I eat 2000 calories of a ketogenic diet in 3 hrs, most of it is wasted as heat, physical energy (I know, because I am EXTREMELY warm/energetic) and then the rest of time i am using a relatively greater percent of stored fat."
Do you know at what rate you're burning-off extra energy intake as heat energy output when you're "EXTREMELY warm/energetic"? Here's an estimate:-
If the mean TEF for your meal is 11% (assuming your meal is 50%E protein & 50%E fat), that's 220kcals (921kJ) "wasted" as heat energy. That'll make you feel EXTREMELY warm, as 220kcal raises the temperature of 57kg of water (your body) by 3.84°C.

A 2,000kcal meal (a whole day's worth of food) takes a lot longer than 3 hours to digest & absorb. I'll guesstimate it as 24 hours. 921kJ of extra heat power over the course of 24 hours = 10.7W, which is an increase of 17.7% over your normal Metabolic Rate of ~60W heat power (~1kcal/minute).
It's easy to "prove" something by being vague. That's PSEUDOSCIENCE. I do science. If you do the maths, you can see that, of the 2,000kcal ketogenic meal, most of it isn't wasted as heat, because if most of it is wasted as heat, ItsTheWoo would spontaneously combust!

  • "Dr. Robert C. Atkins made the same fundamental cock-up when he said that humans pissed-out loads of kcals of ketones each day, giving a Metabolic Advantage to ketogenic diets."
"1) The advantage of a ketogenic diet (non-fasting) does exist, so it's not a 'cock up", even if his mechanism was wrong.
2) If atkins was wrong (you pee out all LCHF food) who cares? That was 30+ years ago. He was a cardiologist who observed a VLC diet made him slim. He used his medical education to hypothesize a reason why. His hypothesis was wrong, but his observations were right. This happens all the time in science or basic human reasoning; make observations, form hypothesis. The hypothesis may be wrong, the findings are STILL RIGHT (i.e. low carb diets DO make slim, just not via peeing away ketones)."
1) There is no Metabolic Advantage to ketogenic diets. See
2) Atkins' observations were wrong. See The Battle of the Diets: Is Anyone Winning (At Losing?)
a) Low-Carb diets work better than High-Carb diets for people who are Insulin Resistant.
b) Low-Carb diets work worse than High-Carb diets for people who are Insulin Sensitive.
c) Low-Carb diets work the same as High-Carb diets for everybody in Metabolic Ward Studies.
If there's a Metabolic Advantage to ketogenic diets, they would work better than high-carb diets all the time. They don't. See How low-carbohydrate diets result in more weight loss than high-carbohydrate diets for people with Insulin Resistance or Type 2 Diabetes for my hypothesis, which explains a), b) and c).


Michael said...

Is there a tl;dr? I'm a dim bulb.

CynicalEng said...

"Weight change varies from ~+3.5kg (@ +2,500kJ/d) to ~+9.1kg (@ +5,900kJ/d)." does rely on one outlier who had a massive lean mass gain but actually only *the same* ~3.5 kg gain in body fat at +5900 kJ/day as in a few other subjects at 2500, 2900, 3500, 4500 etc etc.

Not so convincing when you say "Fat mass increase varies from +3.5 kg @ +2.5MJ/d to +3.5 MJ/d at +5.9 MJ/d".

Personally I believe energy balances always hold, but excess calories eaten don't turn into body fat in the Bray study in the way many would like us to believe.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

"Fat mass increase varies from +3.5 kg @ +2.5MJ/d to +3.5 kg at +5.9 MJ/d"
You're making the same mistake as ItsTheWoo.
Weight gain is ∝ Caloric excess

The low protein group lost LBM. That confounds matters, because LBM has a different energy density from FM.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

Sorry, dear! No.

John Smith said...

She cannot understand what you are saying, her self-absorption is so great that opposing views are non-sensical, as if you were putting random words together.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

I've written this for my benefit. I can't let people be wrong on the internet, especially when it's aimed at me.

billy the k said...

post Nige.  

A round-up of the metabolic "rules of the game." [Cahill's expression]

Rolfe Humphries translated Lucretius' "De Rerum Natura" as:
"The Way Things Are."

Suitable title for this post.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

Thanks! I don't mind ItsTheWoo writing her post, as it helps me to condense my thoughts and work things out that I couldn't be bothered to work out before.

Have your ears been burning, by any chance? Your name came up in conversation.

See and

I thought you should know.

Hafthor Bjornssen said...

Hi Nigel,

Lyle McDonald cannot grasp that the caloric hypothesis by itself is far too simplistic to explain the regulation of body mass. I do not want to say weight, because that is different than mass. On planet Jupiter, skinny Reggie Miller would have a massive "weight." Dr. Garret Fitzgerald, his colleagues, Dr. Hoffman, and numerous others noted this exact same thing. There is much more going on.

Lyle is not doing science, he is doing sales. Lyle has no good explanation (hard to vary ,). - no deep understanding. He only has description. This is the same situation as the fish oil / CHD thing- a " cluster F "

All science can do is show us what is wrong.

Take care,

John Smith said...

I doubt any of them will see it, you taking a reality based approach to the subject, but they are a non-reality based crowd, the only thing that facts do is make them angry.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

The EBE is accurate enough for Lyle's clients, so that's why I use it. I'm using weight rather than mass, as on Earth, weighing machines are calibrated to give the correct readings.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

J Stanton has left a comment on Woo's blog, as he's a calorie denialist. He debates like a 5 year old, based on my last experience with him.

I'm getting loads of page views, so it's all good!

weilasmith said...

nigel said, "The basic The Energy Balance Equation:- Change in body stores = Ein - Eout".
Does wooo really disagree with this? doesn't she always say people who have trouble gaining weight get rid of caloric energy by fidgeting more and putting out more heat? otherwise where does the extra energy go? where exactly do you two disagree? and what does the funny symble that looks a little the google symbol mean?

Nigel Kinbrum said...

The @ ?

Which browser are you using? On Firefox, I can select text, right-click on the selection and select "Google ". It makes finding out stuff much quicker.

weilasmith said...

oh, i got it. the proportionality constant.

weilasmith said...

just on another note, i don't think you would disagree with me that i can put on more weight eating most calories at night than if i ate the same food/calories earlier in the day, right?? you would agree that the same calories in (Ein) led to different weights because the Eout was different- when I ate late at night, i went right to bed, so i didn't expend much energy. instead i stored it. would you agree with this???

Nigel Kinbrum said...

I do disagree, actually! Meal frequency & timing make no difference to overall substrate storage & burning - they just shift the timing of it.


To aid getting off to sleep, an insulin spike is helpful. A warm/hot milky drink e.g. Ovaltine etc will do this.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

Ah, yes. The ∝

Making a list or table sounds like work that I don't really want to do!

weilasmith said...

ok, i do bg measurements 1 to 2 times a day and my weight when i first wake up every morning. i was 138 this morning and didn't feel like eating a lot today as I am usually 135. i better be 135 tomorrow morning or else!!!! i wasn't more energetic today, though. just less hungry. if i am not 135 tomorrow morning, you're gonna get it ;P. i am a sloth, like you. my husband is the opposite. because of him, the house stays clean and healthful meals are cooked :( in return for these blessings, i must endure occasional comments on my slothfulness. my husband has been manic putting up 8 security cameras all around the house. since he is not proficient in english, but i have some proficiency in his language, i must be pulled into his mania or else. sometimes i will draw the line, however, like when he gets manic over buying more and more undies and socks and sneakers, even though he has a ton. just wanted to share.

weilasmith said...

😭don't be slothful™!!! i can be slothful™ in this area because of my ignorance. you have knowledge, so you must find a way to make the 😡effort!!! you can also decorate the table with cool symbolsΩ i can look up👧. you must motivate yourself!!!!🙏

Nigel Kinbrum said...

Do you have a "most comfortable" weight?

weilasmith said...

after the birth of my second child when i was 32 years old to about when i was 44 years old, my comfortable weight as measured in the doctor's office was 148 lb. probably 143-145 lb in the morning. after i went of paleo- i got to 128-130 lb in 3 months. that was my comfortable morning weight for about 3 years to 47 years old. from 47 to the present (49 years old), my comfortable weight is about 134-136. my body composition has gone down a little as my muscles are not as toned and my waist is thicker.

weilasmith said...

don't be slothful™!!! i can be slothful™ in this area because of my ignorance. you have knowledge, so you must find a way to make the effort!!! you can also decorate the table with cool symbolsΩ i can look up. you must motivate yourself!!!

Nigel Kinbrum said...

I can't see the point in making a list or table of differences of opinion between Woo & me. What will it achieve?

Nigel Kinbrum said...

"my comfortable weight is about 134-136."
That sounds really critical.

"my body composition has gone down a little as my muscles are not as toned and my waist is thicker."
Getting older sucks. Tell me about it!

weilasmith said...

thank you for you sympathy! my weight this morning was 137.2. not down to my comfortable weight yet :(
for health reasons, i might need to be a little comfortable.

weilasmith said...

it will clarify things cuz everything will be in one place without all the nastiness.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

If it's any consolation, when I weighed myself last night, I was horrified to see that I was 94.5kg!

I'd been a bit naughty yesterday. O.K. I'd been very naughty! ;-)

This morning, I was 92.3kg! Glycogen+water weight can go up & down quite a lot in a short period of time, so don't panic!

Nigel Kinbrum said...

Yeah, but...

My blog posts are free from nastiness. If Woo says something about me (or a fact) that I believe to be incorrect, I can now link to my blog. Sorted!

weilasmith said...

yeah, but 130 lb for 3 years and now 136 for 2 years? on a small frame (5'3") and mostly concentrated on my abdomen? that is panic time because i am not 'naught' 98% of the time. i am trying to avoid my mom's humpty dumpty look for health and vanity reasons.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

Being female has advantages & disadvantages. You made a lot more DHA than us! Menopause - meh!

Is Oestrogen+Progesterone+Testosterone HRT (trans-dermal cream) an option?

Nigel Kinbrum said...

"I was looking at *fat* gain"

"So what about Bray's badly worded sentence saying that LP weight gain
required 75 MJ/kg and HP 38 MJ/kg of *weight* gain, P=0.04 for
difference. Weight gain was not simply proportional to caloric excess,
was it. Seems one group required twice as much energy to gain a unit of
weight as the other."
The LP group lost LBM. LBM ≡ ~400kcal/lb. FM ≡ ~3,500kcal/lb.


When you've read, digested & fully understood it, please explain it to me! ;-)

Nigel Kinbrum said...

First written warning.

Nigel Kinbrum said...


I have to go out, now. Please don't leave any more comments until I return, as I won't have time to respond to them.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

I'm back. It's not lack of motivation, now. It's a completely pointless exercise. Nobody cares what I (or Woo) thinks. Therefore nobody cares what we agree or disagree on. Ask Woo to make a TABLE™ and see what happens!

If you're interested, you make the TABLE™.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

No, you won't.

weilasmith said...

if nobody cares, why post anything about it?
let me collect data for my table.

point of agreement number 1:
you both agree hormones aka the endocrine milieu (?) affect weight gain so that a younger woman eating x surplus calories will gain less weight than a post menopausal women eating the same amount of surplus calories and with the same activity level. if you don't agree, than you're recommending hormoone replacement to me in nonsensical. you should just advise me to do exactly what i did in 2009 to lose the weight.

weilasmith said...

nigel said: "...He debates like a 5 year old, based on my last experience with him."

In America comparing an adult to a child can be classified with the broad term 'nastiness' lol.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

"if nobody cares, why post anything about it?"
Because you care?

"you both agree hormones aka the endocrine milieu (?) affect weight gain.."
Hormones are affecting your appetite & your energy expenditure (i.e. your energy balance) & your body composition. Your energy balance has shifted by ~2%, so you've gained ~2% in weight. Your body composition has deteriorated slightly, so you have a bit less muscle mass and a bit more fat mass.

The hormones didn't make you gain weight out of thin air! To get down to a lower weight requires more caloric restriction than your appetite will allow.

Do you get much water retention? That can affect weight.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

Did I write that in a blog post? I don't think so!

I know I wrote it in comments on here and on Woo's blog. I can't stand J Stanton. I despise the man. I reserve the right to be nasty to him in comments.

My blog posts are free from nastiness.

weilasmith said...

i don't think i or wooo thinks hormones make you gain weight out of thin air. you probably agree there.

i am really going to work on more high intensity exercise since i have a good exercise bike. i'm very aware of not over-doing it and not hurting myself. in the past before paleo when i would lose weight periodically, it would not be from calorie counting or LC, but from exercise. after the magic 3 month mark, i was in some kind of new balance because my new appetite was in sync with a lower, healthier weight. that was in my 30's, though. i like how you said 'around 2%'. 2 is such a small number !!! i feel better and energized to start my new muscle-building, appetite/sleep regulating program!!!! what is your exercise program like? do you have any goals, or are you maintaining now?