It's becoming painfully obvious that there's a lot of ignorance about certain dietary "Facts of Life". This post will dispel the myths - backed up by evidence, where necessary.
1. Everyone is Different: This has been a recurring theme on my blog, starting in 2009 with the aptly-named Everyone is Different. What this means in practice, is that:-
a) You can't calculate your Energy Expenditure exactly, using one of those fancy equations (e.g. Harris-Benedict).
b) Weight change is proportional to caloric excess/deficit ± inter-personal variation.
2. CALORIES COUNT: If there's zero caloric surplus, there's zero weight gain. There can be water balance shifts due to glycogen shifts, hormonal shifts, electrolyte shifts etc. Somebody fitted a lovely straight line to the weight gain data in Bray et al shows that a calorie *is* a calorie (where weight is concerned), but their line didn't pass through 0,0. Duh!
3. Glycaemic Index (GI) has NOTHING to do with calories: A low-GI carbohydrate still has 4kcals/g. GI is a useful hint as to whether a carbohydrate may disturb blood glucose levels, but it isn't as useful as Glycaemic Load (GL = GI x grams of carbohydrate in the serving). Watermelon has a very high GI, but 100g of watermelon contains only ~5g of carbohydrates, so the GL is less than 5 i.e. watermelon is as safe as houses.
4. Exercise DOESN'T burn as many calories as you think: Exercise is for fitness, not weight loss (unless you're a professional sports-person, who can expend 1,000's of kcals a day in training).
5. Weight loss doesn't ALWAYS result in reduced Basal Metabolic Rate: Whether or not Basal Metabolic Rate reduces with weight loss depends on the degree of Adipocyte Hyperplasia that occurred during weight gain. Humongous weight gain, also weight gain in childhood, increases adipocyte hyperplasia, which is protective against developing T2DM, but makes the subsequent loss of significant amounts of FM more difficult.
6. For Muscle Hypertrophy, a STIMULUS is required: Eating too much food and/or swallowing loads of protein without hypertrophy training doesn't make muscles grow significantly bigger. See http://hillfit.com/. Chris Highcock knows what he's talking about.
7. Yo-yo dieting isn't ALWAYS a bad thing: Bodybuilders (BB'ers) do cycles of "cutting" and "bulking". Cutting is Fat Mass (FM) loss with minimal Lean Body Mass (LBM) loss. Bulking is LBM gain with minimal FM gain.
Non-BB'ers tend to get it the wrong way round. They go on crash diets with insufficient protein intake and lose loads of LBM (which increases weight loss, due to the lower Energy Density of LBM relative to FM). They then eat way too much, gaining weight way too rapidly for much (if any) of it to be LBM, even if they are doing hypertrophy training.
8. FM loss CAN be rapid: See The Rapid Fat Loss Handbook. A Scientific Approach to Crash Dieting.
9. LBM gain CANNOT be rapid: See What’s My Genetic Muscular Potential? to find out how much LBM you can gain and how quickly you can gain it.
Finally, see http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/. What Lyle McDonald doesn't know about fat loss, general nutrition, muscle mass gain and training fits on a postage stamp. He also explains things in language that the sort of person who reads my blog can understand. Just don't leave a comment asking him a question, that's already been answered elsewhere on his site!