Atkins was right AKA a calorie is not a calorie

Let me put this one to rest:
I have been saying this for years and have been getting a little sick and tired of those who said a calorie is a calorie and if you eat more then you use for energy you will get fat. This never made sense to me as even an energy balance question.

I’m just glad that someone took the time to actually do a study for this is the only thing some of you understand.

I wish I could find the cite, but in response to a recent similar study, a leading dietician (sorry, can’t remember his name or title) said that the low-fat dieters must have cheated. I have two responses to that.

  1. Must have? Must have? There’s scientific objectivity for you. You know, once upon a time pretty much everyone thought the world was flat. It was also commonly believed that the earth was the center of our solar system, and that flies spontaneously arose from meat. It is an incredible display of hubris to think that we know all there is to know about nutrition and the human body. And it’s unethical for a scientist to ignore truth when it is staring him or her in the face.

  2. Even if the low-fat group did cheat, what does that mean for people trying to achieve long-term weight loss? You can’t expect people to willingly starve themselves for long periods of time.

It will probably take another thirty years of similar studies before establishment nutritionists and dieticians will even concede that Atkins works above and beyond just making you feel full. To them it would be like James Randi having to admit that the psychics were right all along.

Well, I think the key thing here is the amount of enegy * absorbed * by your body from the food, not the total caloric value of the food, as of course the human body is not 100% effiecent, as well as the energy required to process the food.

My guess is that the body requires less energy to break down carbohydrates, and absorbs energy from them more effiently than it does from higher protein foods like you get with the Atkins diet.

This would allow mostly protein eaters to have a lower net energy input to their bodies, despite eating a larger number of “raw” calories.