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9: All Things Calories (Calories 101) | Mat Lalonde

9: All Things Calories (Calories 101) | Mat Lalonde

AIR DATE: March 8, 2012 at 7PM ET
FEATURED EXPERT: Mat Lalonde, Ph.D. (Find him on Facebook and Twitter)
FEATURED TOPIC: “All Things Calories (Calories 101)”

LISTEN AND DOWNLOAD AT ITUNES

Harvard research biochemist Mat Lalonde has a rather interesting take on the Paleo diet from the role of an organic chemist. Lauded for bringing skepticism about the claims of ancestral living to light, Mat is a really smart guy who pushes the boundaries of thinking outside of our own little online communities to see the bigger picture. He was a guest in Episode 419 of my “Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show” podcast and we’re pleased to have him address a subject matter that he knows quite a bit about: CALORIES! Mat is a big believer in food quality over food quantity and that eating until you are full is possible on a weight loss plan. This is sure to be one of the most popular episodes we’ve aired to date!

GET BEN GREENFIELD’S ‘LOW-CARB DIET FOR TRIATHLETES’:

NOTICE OF DISCLOSURE: http://cmp.ly/3
Here’s the column on calories Jimmy referenced at the beginning of the show:
“What’s Really Making Us Fat?” by Kristin Wartman in the March 8, 2012 issue of The Atlantic

Here are some of the questions we addressed in this podcast:

ANGELA ASKS:
Is there a point where your body gets too comfortable with a low-carb diet and too used to burning fat for fuel, that you need to watch your calories as well as your carbs in order to lose weight? I had a great success on Atkins in the first months, losing 13 kgs, then nothing else since then, unless I lower my calories.

DON ASKS:
On a recent ATLCX show I heard Mark Sisson say that he believed if you are taking in enough nutrients and fat in your diet to maintain your current weight that you probably wouldn’t gain weight but that if your goal was to lose fat that you needed to create a calorie deficit. Mat, what is your take on this? There seems to be a lot of disagreement on this subject.

SUSAN ASKS:
Is it true that there’s no scientific evidence that 3500 calories = 1 lb? Where did this stat originate from? Why is it not relevant for weight loss if this stat isn’t true? I would love to have an answer for those who still regard this as the holy grail of weight loss.

MIKE ASKS:
What are your thoughts on the food reward theory and the idea that weight and health management is really “all about the calories.” I think it’s rubbish but I’d like to hear Mat’s take. It seems that many Paleo folks are abandoning low-carb as a legitimate nutritional approach.

LISA ASKS:
If you eat too low of calories, will that send you into “starvation mode” and stall your weight loss?

JAMIE ASKS:
One of the biggest chains of women’s workout centers is Curves and they claim you will “Burn up to 500 calories in 30 minutes.” Just how accurate would you say calorie estimates are for exercise machines and programs?

WALLY ASKS:
You have made the remark that the human body is not a calorimeter. In what ways, if any, are food kilo-calories relevant to optimal health?

SUSAN ASKS:
Is there an ideal percentage of your calories that should come from carbs, fats and proteins?

BEN ASKS:
Mat once mentioned how intermittent fasting causes an increase in the “fight of flight” response. Is this still true for a person that is well adapted to intermittent fasting and can go 16+ hours without any desire or hunger for food? And if it’s still true, would something like a piece of fruit be enough to negate the stress issue?

MICHAEL ASKS:
Before I ran across Paleo, I was looking into calorie restriction, which naturally I didn’t even attempt to comply with. In your estimation, do you think the science shows there is an advantage to modest calorie restriction when already eating cleanly? Do you believe all the benefit of calorie restriction can be retained by clean eating and intermittent fasting? Where does protein sparing fasting fit in?

  • Kim

    Mat, I was amazed in your recent Paleo Summit talk to hear you describe how little sustenance you take in during the week (pounds on bacon on the weekends notwithstanding). As a 120- something pound woman, I can hardly imagine getting by on so little food. Would you mind elaborating a bit more on your reasons for eating so little during the week? I’m sure they are excellent and well thought out and researched. Thanks!

  • Duey

    what are your thoughts on the food reward theory of obesity?

  • Duey

    what are your thoughts on the food reward theory of obesity?

  • Andy barge

    Hi Jimmy,

    I really enjoy listening to Mat. Thank for having him on he is such a reassuring presence. If you are the “Yoda” of podcasts then he is the “Gandalf” of nutrition.

    • LLVLCBlog

      HAHAHA! Love it. “The Kraken” is stuck with him thanks to Robb Wolf. :D

  • http://paleozonenutrition.com/ Julianne taylor

    Mat – you might be interested in my breakdown of DurianRiders diet – he got just enough protein due to expeptionally high calorie intake. http://paleozonenutrition.com/2011/03/05/30-bananas-a-day-durianrider-an-analysis-of-his-paleo-vegan-diet/

    • LLVLCBlog

      I remember that post…barely is right. LOL!

  • Clair

    My problem with the equating of palatability and food reward with addiction is that it implies good food should taste bad. Taste is patly acquired and great food does not have to be addictive. The irony is that Guyenet is of French descent. He is creating a new French paradox by saying healthful food should not taste good.

    • LLVLCBlog

      Good point! And part of the food experience is the social aspect of it as well. If foods taste good, does that in and of itself make it a poor choice? I don’t think so.

    • Stephanie

      gnolls.org did a really good series on this topic recently. The reason those foods are addicting is because they also are devoid of nutrients. Thus you can feel full physically, but your body will still be craving more food because it knows you don’t have enough nutrients. It helped me put all the food reward stuff into context. I really think it works too. Even when I “binge” on healthy food, I find that I end up eating less later without even trying. The same is not true for the processed “carbage”.

  • FrankG

    Many thanks Jimmy and Mat. This is one where I will have to listen again, as it was packed with so much good information.

    I have a great deal of time and respect for Mat, who seems to have a good head on his shoulders: smart, unbiased science where he lets the research findings lead him rather than having an allegiance to any particular hypothesis, or axe to grind.

    Refined carbs have a role, leptin has a role, insulin has a role, food reward/palatability has a role… and much more besides… there is no “us” and “them”, where for “us” to be right then “them” must be wrong.

    Thank you

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chuck-Johnson/100003129904193 Chuck Johnson

    It’s ok Jimmy… you don’t have to agree with his veganism (I don’t) , tactics (I don’t), or food preferences (I do), but you can say that DR’s blood panel is good, and he is cut to shreds.

    He’s not “skinny” in the cycling world, it’s called power to weight. Google “Tour de France” and click images for more examples.

    Great show. Sorry I didn’t call in. Wouldn’t really have anything to add anyway. Your hour that day was a allotted to a 2 mile ocean swim. Didn’t see any Kraken, but did swim over a couple huge schools of something ;)

    • LLVLCBlog

      If it works for DR, then who am I to argue? I wouldn’t say he looks fit and fantastic though.

  • Baggytheo

    Man you’ve really got to sort out that shuffling noise on the mic. I almost turned the podcast off because of it.

    • LLVLCBlog

      I apologize, but we had some Skype issues that required me to use my iPad with earbuds instead. Hopefully we won’t have to resort to that gain. Thanks for your feedback. Thankfully it didn’t last throughout the episode.

  • PaleoDentist

    While I highly respect Matt’s knowledge and opinions, I have to disagree with his statement with regard to cold adaptation and that the inuit are “chubby” and have a layer of insulating fat due to chronic cold exposure. Humans are not marine mammals (walrus/whale/seal). Pre-westernized diet, the traditional inuit had a body fat % of 11-13% in males as recorded by Steffanson. they have adapted to the cold by having a stickier frame and combined with the wider Asiatic faces may look “chubby” to Matt, but they were not eating basically a ketogenic diet and thriving in the cold. That of course changed once their traditional diet and way of live was destroyed by “civilization”.

  • PaleoDentist

    (REPOST with typos and grammar corrected)

    While I highly respect Matt’s knowledge and opinions, I have to disagree with his statement with regard to cold adaptation and that the inuit are “chubby” and have a layer of insulating fat due to chronic cold exposure. Humans are not marine mammals (walrus/whale/seal). Pre-westernized diet, the traditional inuit had a body fat % of 11-13% in males as recorded by Steffanson. They have adapted to the cold by having a stockier frame and combined with the wider Asiatic faces may look “chubby” to Matt, but they were basically eating a ketogenic diet of marine mammals, caribou fish and seaweed. They were thriving in the cold. That of course changed once their traditional diet and way of live was destroyed by “civilization”.