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3 Reasons Diets Don’t Cause More Weight Loss in the Obese

It’s been known for years the actual weight losses from low calorie diets are always less than predicted in both lean and overweight individuals.   This is often used by the clueless to argue against calorie based models of weight loss or energy balance.    They’re wrong, mind you.  But it still raises the question of why this happens: why don’t the obese (people with obesity) lose more weight on low-calorie diets.

Weight Loss from Low-Calorie Diets

As I mentioned above, it’s been long observed that the predicted weight loss from low-calorie diets and the actual weight loss are often significantly different.   Quite in fact, they are often one half as much as would be predicted.  The question is why.

To address the issue, I will be examining a 2007 paper titled Why do obese patients not lose more weight when treated with low-calorie diets? A mechanistic perspective.

As of the writing of the paper, there was a surprisingly limited amount of research on the topic in the sense of looking at the reasons why the weight loss is so much lower than predicted.… Keep Reading

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The Facts on High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)

It seems to be human nature to want to find ONE SOLUTION to complex problems.  Obesity is no different.  Every few years something new is blamed as THE CAUSE OF OBESITY.  At least one of those is high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).  Like others before, it has been blamed as the cause of obesity, diabetes/The Metabolic Syndrome, health problems and the breakdown of the nuclear family.

A lot of this idea started with research by Bray who CORRELATED an increase in the intake of high fructose corn syrup with increasing rates of obesity.   Much of this started with a 2004 paper by Bray where he correlated changes in HFCS intake with changes in obesity, suggesting that it was the increase in HFCS intake that was driving obesity.  This was taken, as usual, far out of context into the popular realm of magazines, newspapers and tv soundbites.

Suddenly high fructose corn syrup was THE enemy.… Keep Reading

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Is Milk the New Sports Drink?

Although milk is often surrounded by controversy as I discuss below, emerging data suggests that it can have massive benefits for athletes.  These include body composition improvements along with it’s potential as a sports drink for both rehydration and recovery following training.  Today I want to look at a research paper that examines the data up to 2008.

Roy BD. Milk  the new sports drink? A Review. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2008 Oct 2;5:15


Milk, like all aspects of nutrition is often surrounded by controversy. From the nutjob tinfoil on the head anti-milk zealots to bodybuilders who say that milk makes you smooth, milk is often thought of as a terrible food for adult humans to eat.

Yet, objectively milk is an excellent source of high quality protein (a mix of casein and whey), carbohydrates (lactose, which admittedly some people have problems digesting) along with providing fluids, highly bio-available calcium, and electrolytes.… Keep Reading

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Meal Frequency and Energy Balance

Perhaps one of the longest standing claims is that a high meal frequency will improve fat loss, spare muscle loss or have some other beneficial effect over a lower meal frequency.    But is this claim actually true?  To examine the topic, I want to look at the following paper.

Bellisle F et. al. Meal frequency and energy balance. Br J Nutr. (1997) 77 (Suppl 1):S57-70.

My Comments

Perhaps one of the longest standing dogmas in the weight loss and bodybuilding world is the absolute necessity of eating frequently for various reasons. Specific to weight loss, how many times have you heard something along the lines of “Eating 6 times per day stokes the metabolic fire.” or “You must eat 6 times per day to lose fat effectively.” or “Skipping even one meal per day will slow your metabolic rate and you’ll hoard fat.” Probably a lot

Well, guess what. The idea is primarily based on awful observational studies and direct research (where meal frequency is varied within the context of an identical number of calories under controlled conditions) says that it’s all basically nonsense.… Keep Reading

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Homeostatic and Non-Homeostatic Pathways and Food Intake

I don’t know how much the readers of my site care about the depths of neurobiology, although I wouldn’t be surprised if I had some given how I write or what I write about.  In any case, this is somewhat technical article where I want to look at what are called the homeostatic and non-homeostatic (or hedonic) pathways and how they impact on food intake.

The very simple distinction between the two is that the homeostatic system is involved in regulating food intake based on the body’s actual needs whereas the non-homeostatic/hedonic system is based on environmental factors and the fact that food tastes good.  Now let’s look at the complex distinction.  First let me start with a couple of definitions.


The idea of regulation means that, well, a system is regulated.  Ok, that doesn’t help.  What this means is that a system has some way of attempting to keep itself at a fairly consistent level.   … Keep Reading