Saturday, January 16, 2010

Back to That Calorie Thing.....?

Another question....

Hi, Doc,I read your chapters online the other day and ordered the book from Amazon and got it today. Very interesting, thanks for writing it.

I do have a question about calories, though. You say calories don't count. I follow your explanation on this, it makes sense, and I do understand about the effects of insulin---been reading and doing low carb diets on and off for 12 years. But you must have some handle for judging the amount of total food that anyone needs to eat this way, don't you?

I mean, a woman of 125 pounds is going to eat differently (or should, I expect) than a woman who weighs 225 or 325 pounds and needs to reduce that weight, doesn't she? Or do you simply look at it as, say, eat 50 grams of protein and 20-30 grams of carbs and the fat wherever it ends up that day and everyone eats the same?


My Response;

Hi There!

First off, thanks for reading my book! And yes, you are correct; people of different weights will eat/require different amounts of food, measured in carbs of course, not calories. But here's where it gets weird. A woman who is 200-300 Lbs will actually require more calories, yes, I did say calories (lol) than a woman who weighs less. This is because the heavier woman requires more fat and protein for her physiology than the lighter woman.

Think of it this way. If you weigh, say, 120 Lbs and place another 100 Lbs on your shoulders, you will need to create more ATP (our life molecule) to get you through the day. So it is so with the woman who weighs an extra 50, 100 Lbs or so. Since they are carrying around more weight on their frame they need to create more ATP to carry this extra weight around, which is why the caloric need actually increases in a person carrying around more weight. As the weight comes off, the person will need less and less in the way of protein/fat to get them through the day, and yes, I hate to say it, but now the caloric need lowers.

Since the calorie, unfortunately, is intricately related to protein/fat/carbs; it's hard to stop using that term. And as a quick side note, that life molecule, ATP, will be created from fat/protein (and of course carbs) which is why a heavier person needs more of these foods (with the exception of the carbs), not less (hence the caloric need increases).

But always remember, the calorie indeed means nothing and is misleading, very misleading if a person is obese, that is because they will require more calories, not less, in the beginning of their weight loss quest.

Thanks for the question!

Now go have a steak to start the day off right!

If you haven't done so already, go subscribe for free to my Ultimate Wellness! show on the Internet. Go to You Tube and type in 'shock doc dr james carlson' and enjoy the show!

dr jim


  1. Thanks, Doc. Another question for you: If you are eating a diet such as you describe, at what point and why do you start burning body fat? I assume that even if your insulin levels are low, you still won't be using body fat until the fat from your last meal has been used for fuel. Which would make it seem that you would need to keep dietary fat to some minimum level in order to lose body fat. Is that right? If it is, do you find that dietary fat level through trial and error or is there another way to figure it?

  2. Hi.

    Dr. A asked me to tell you about my theory which explains how dietary fat can be stored as body fat even though dietary fat does not increase serum insulin level i.e. calories still count when it comes to weight gain/loss. See I have a theory and Enzymes


  3. I suggested that Nigel discuss his theory with you, James, as I believe you did biochemistry. I don't have the knowledge on that subject yet to comment, plus too busy doing pharmacology assignment (still).

  4. Dr. Jim,

    What came first, the calorie or the gram?

    Also, when you talk about grams of protein or fat, is that the actual WEIGHT of the macronutrient? For example, 200 grams of chicken contains 60 grams of protein and 15 grams of fat. Does this mean that the pure protein part of the chicken WEIGHS 60 grams on a scale and that the pure fat part WEIGHS 15 grams on a scale and the other 125 grams is the WEIGHT of whatever is left over, like water?

    If that is not what it is, then what is it?