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  #1  
Old 05-14-2011, 03:57 PM
isaiahrobinson isaiahrobinson is offline
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How long does it take for unhealthy food to register as fat?

Say you sneakily buy a large box of chocolates and devour the whole thing in one go. 1000 calories. How long will that take to show up as fat on your hips, legs, stomach, or wherever? 12 hours, 24 hours, 2 days, 3 days? Is it simply a case of how quickly the food can be digested and shipping round the body, or do hormones start changing how body fat is deposited even before all the food is digested?
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  #2  
Old 05-14-2011, 06:08 PM
Martin Hyde Martin Hyde is offline
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You're fundamentally misunderstanding how the body creates fat.

Let us postulate I eat something that is extremely high in fat, let us say a stick of pure butter. One stick of butter weighs in at around 113g, 92 of those grams are listed as fat on the nutrition facts panel. The whole stick is rated at 810 calories.

I get up at 8 AM, I eat that entire stick for breakfast and then I don't eat anything for the rest of the day.

So, how long is it before it becomes fat?

Answer: Never. Because at 810 calories for the entire day I have not provided my body enough fuel to run even at a bare minimum activity level, that means all of the calories in that butter will be consumed and my body will begin causing fat stored in my adipose tissue to release into the blood stream so that it can continue operations using the stored energy there (it also takes a bite out of your muscle tissue as well.)

It doesn't matter if the food is unhealthy or not, all that matters in terms of building fat stores is having a positive caloric balance. If you burn 2500 a day it does not matter what you eat, if you are eating less than 2500 a day you cannot create new fat stores.

Further, just because your fat is well, fat, does not mean you have to consume fat to increase your stored fat. The body can break down proteins and carbohydrates and once they have become glucose and amino acids the body can then cause those to be stored as fat as well. Without being a biologist I do not know much more than that, I believe there is less efficiency in converting proteins and carbohydrates to fat than in storing actual consumed fat as fat...why that is I'm not sure because I believe even actual fat has to be broken down and reassembled for storage in the human body.
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  #3  
Old 05-14-2011, 07:24 PM
isaiahrobinson isaiahrobinson is offline
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OK, so let's say that by 9pm you've eaten 2500 calories so far. Then you demolish a 1000-calorie box of chocolates. Then the next day you eat 2500 as normal. Roughly how long will that take extra chocolate take to register as fat?
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  #4  
Old 05-14-2011, 10:31 PM
StaudtCJ StaudtCJ is offline
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Your body is a pretty effective machine. Generally, humans won't see all that 1000 kcals added to fat stores because the body will start fidgeting, increase temperature, sweat more, or otherwise "use up" those calories in less-detectible ways. One generally would either have to consistently eat more calories than the body can utilized and be busily doing sedentary things (typing, etc. that uses brain power and requires time and mental effort, so that one is busily ignoring the body's signals to utilize the calories), or have something wrong in order to store that excess kcal intake in fat cells. Of course, this violates the "calories in, calories out" rule that lots of people like to claim, but generally bodies are much smarter machines than car engines.
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  #5  
Old 05-15-2011, 01:55 AM
Shmendrik Shmendrik is offline
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Originally Posted by StaudtCJ View Post
Of course, this violates the "calories in, calories out" rule that lots of people like to claim, but generally bodies are much smarter machines than car engines.
It certainly doesn't. "Calories in, calories out" is based on fundamental laws of phsyics. You're just claiming that the body's energy output rapidly increases with increased energy input, which sounds somewhat unlikely but doesn't violate any physical laws.
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  #6  
Old 05-15-2011, 07:24 AM
Markxxx Markxxx is offline
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You also have to distinguish between "real weight" and "transient weight." For instance, if I step on a scale and weigh myself and then drink two gallons of water and weigh myself again, I'll weigh more.

But that weight is due to water. It will pass through my body and the result will be no "real weight" gain. But I will have gained weight on a transient basis.

Fats are a lot denser than carbs and protein, so it's easier to consume more of them.
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  #7  
Old 05-15-2011, 09:50 PM
TimeWinder TimeWinder is offline
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To try and answer the OP's actual question, I found this:

It's pretty dense reading, but the answers appear to be "it really depends on the rest of your blood chemistry at the moment, especially insulin and acetate levels" and (for rats at least), "no more than a few hours in any event."

For humans (and realize that this is *way* out of my areas of expertise), it seems likely that we can cap it: it takes a maximum of about 16 hours for food to pass through your system, so the first stage (conversion into blood sugars and similar chemicals) must be done by then. Blood sugar levels are notoriously quick-changing with activity and intake; maybe 5-6 hours before the effects of a given "spike" are gone. By simply adding these, we can come up with a severely back-of-the-envelope guess that by 16 + 6 = 22 hours after eating, the last of those calories you consumed will have been dealt with one way or the other -- either converted into energy or fat.

I reserve the right to be way, way wrong, though.
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Old 05-16-2011, 12:01 AM
Leo Bloom Leo Bloom is offline
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A slight hijack, but cued by the transient weight gain mention: how long before the digestive process produces ready-to-go poop relative to the assimilation of the calories? I.e., everyone knows you lose weight after prolonged bouts of diarrhea (which is why anorectics are constantly taking laxatives). But, after a big normal poop, you may "feel like you lost a few lbs.," but energetically you haven't lost anything, all the calories having been extracted, so to speak.
What's the time curve between these states?

Last edited by Leo Bloom; 05-16-2011 at 12:03 AM..
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  #9  
Old 05-16-2011, 12:54 AM
Surreal Surreal is offline
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Originally Posted by Shmendrik View Post
It certainly doesn't. "Calories in, calories out" is based on fundamental laws of phsyics. You're just claiming that the body's energy output rapidly increases with increased energy input, which sounds somewhat unlikely but doesn't violate any physical laws.
Just because it's based on "laws of physics" doesn't mean it accurately models human physiology in any way that's actually meaningful. The human metabolism is vastly more complex than the simplistic bomb calorimeters that physicists use.
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  #10  
Old 05-16-2011, 10:14 AM
LSLGuy LSLGuy is offline
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Said another way, the raw physics form a boundary condition on the problem. They state (some of) what can't happen, but they say almost nothing about what will happen.

And for a complex system like a living mammal, the range of possible states driven by its normal and abnormal operations can be a long way from the physics boundary.

The usual way these discussions go awry is folks leaving out the time element. What's true when measured as a net result over a 14 day period may not be true hour by hour.

Last edited by LSLGuy; 05-16-2011 at 10:15 AM..
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  #11  
Old 05-16-2011, 10:18 PM
Sage Rat Sage Rat is online now
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Pedantic, but outside of hardcore poisons or a lack of food (i.e. starvation) there is no unhealthy food, just unhealthy ratios of one food to another.
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  #12  
Old 07-06-2013, 12:45 AM
maggie_maggie maggie_maggie is offline
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about 16-24 hours

You're all a bunch of ding dongs. Obviously, if you eat a stick of butter and nothing else all day, you won't gain weight. And if you drink gallons of water, you also won't gain "fat" but the scale will register you as heavier. The person asking the question is saying, "Hey, I ate a full days meal but then had a binge and I'm gonna be in my bathing suit tomorrow. How soon will that binge show up on my body?"

The answer, from life experience, is that in the morning it won't show up but by nighttime, you could start looking a bit puffy and by the third day, the weight gain will be present.

I hope that helped!
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  #13  
Old 07-06-2013, 01:04 AM
theinscrutabledoctorknow theinscrutabledoctorknow is offline
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Its not so much the 1000 calories, but what the calories are made of. If its a box of chocolates then its mostly high fructose corn syrup which the liver immediately converts to fat and its not the type of fat thats easy to burn up, it the kind of fat thats very hard to burn off. If sugar was used instead it wouldnt be nearly as bad. High fructose corn syrup is in almost everything now to the point where people are getting "fatty liver disease" which is the same as cirrhosis of the liver that is caused by alcoholism. Avoid high fructose corn syrup at all costs.
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  #14  
Old 07-06-2013, 06:52 AM
naita naita is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maggie_maggie View Post
You're all a bunch of ding dongs. Obviously, if you eat a stick of butter and nothing else all day, you won't gain weight. And if you drink gallons of water, you also won't gain "fat" but the scale will register you as heavier. The person asking the question is saying, "Hey, I ate a full days meal but then had a binge and I'm gonna be in my bathing suit tomorrow. How soon will that binge show up on my body?"

The answer, from life experience, is that in the morning it won't show up but by nighttime, you could start looking a bit puffy and by the third day, the weight gain will be present.

I hope that helped!
You're two years late to make a difference for the original poster and you have to be a bit more precise in your critisism than calling everyone ding dongs and posting something completely devoid of meaning.
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  #15  
Old 07-06-2013, 06:56 AM
naita naita is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theinscrutabledoctorknow View Post
Its not so much the 1000 calories, but what the calories are made of. If its a box of chocolates then its mostly high fructose corn syrup which the liver immediately converts to fat and its not the type of fat thats easy to burn up, it the kind of fat thats very hard to burn off. If sugar was used instead it wouldnt be nearly as bad. High fructose corn syrup is in almost everything now to the point where people are getting "fatty liver disease" which is the same as cirrhosis of the liver that is caused by alcoholism. Avoid high fructose corn syrup at all costs.
There's no conclusive scientific evidence for your pile of claims, and good evidence that your hyperbolic way of stating them is blatantly false.
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  #16  
Old 07-06-2013, 12:25 PM
Ambivalid Ambivalid is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theinscrutabledoctorknow View Post
"fatty liver disease" which is the same as cirrhosis of the liver.
Incorrect. Those are two completely different conditions.
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  #17  
Old 07-06-2013, 12:54 PM
Derleth Derleth is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theinscrutabledoctorknow View Post
Its not so much the 1000 calories, but what the calories are made of. If its a box of chocolates then its mostly high fructose corn syrup which the liver immediately converts to fat and its not the type of fat thats easy to burn up, it the kind of fat thats very hard to burn off. If sugar was used instead it wouldnt be nearly as bad. High fructose corn syrup is in almost everything now to the point where people are getting "fatty liver disease" which is the same as cirrhosis of the liver that is caused by alcoholism. Avoid high fructose corn syrup at all costs.
If HFCS is toxic then so's honey, which is mostly fructose, just like HFCS.

Last edited by Derleth; 07-06-2013 at 12:54 PM..
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  #18  
Old 07-06-2013, 12:56 PM
t-bonham@scc.net t-bonham@scc.net is offline
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The OP also fundamentally misunderstands the calorie content of fine chocolates.

1000 calories is about 5 or 6 pieces, not a 'whole box'. Unless it's one of those tiny sample boxes, a whole box is way more calories than that.
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