The Calorie Calculator Theory: We Believe It Should Be Thrown Out

The calorie calculator theory about obesity -- what we have been calling the Caloric Balance Hypothesis -- rests on the assumption that controlling calories (by eating less and exercising more) will lead to weight loss. This theory is the foundation for practically every diet out there. (Even most low-carb diets will assert that calories still "count.")

Our Conclusions: We believe that overwhelming evidence shows that calories do not "count" after all; and that the key to a healthy diet is, instead, controlling carbs.

The alternative theory about obesity, the Lipophilia Hypothesis, says that calories don't count -- what ultimately matters is fat tissue regulation. When our fat tissue gets bigger, this makes us hungrier and less active. When our fat tissue is regulated properly, our appetite shuts down and our metabolism picks up spontaneously. Changes in our balance of calories are a byproduct of -- not a cause of -- changes in the amount fat stored in the fat tissue.

This website has examined 11 predictions of both of these theories. The results are summarized in the table below. We, the site's authors, believe that the Caloric Balance Hypothesis has been compellingly refuted. We also assert that the Lipophilia Hypothesis should take its place as the new null hypothesis about what constitutes a healthy diet.

Phenomenon Caloric Balance Explanation Lipophilia Explanation Conclusion
1. Weight Gain Over eating and inactivity--i.e.failed calorie counting--cause us to get fat. Overeating and inactivity are consequences of getting fat. Lipophilia explanation is better
2. Weight Loss Appetite control and increased activity--i.e. being a good calorie calculator--cause us to lose fat. Appetite control and increased activity are consequences of losing fat. Lipophilia explanation is better
3. Weight Maintenance To maintain a constant weight over time, one must consciously regulate calories in/calories out. Unconscious homeostatic mechanisms maintain our weight over time, just like they maintain other aspects of the interior milieu, like body temperature. Lipophilia explanation is better
4. Calorie is a Calorie? The body is a simple machine: a calorie is a calorie. All calories are not equal. The body is a complex machine. Lipophilia explanation is better
5. Obesity Epidemic An epidemic of overeating and inactivity has caused the obesity epidemic. The switch to a low fat/high carb diet has caused the obesity epidemic. Lipophilia explanation is better
6. Diseases of Civilization Says nothing about why obesity associates with diseases of civilization like diabetes, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, malnutrition and gout. Obesity associates with diseases like diabetes, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer's disease, malnutrition, and gout because they all stem from a common cause: chronic hyperinsulinemia. Lipophilia explanation is better
7. Low Carb Diets Carb restricted diets and other measures taken to improve blood insulin levels only lead to weight loss if calorie counting leads to calorie restriction. The low carb diet and other measures taken to improve blood insulin levels can lead to weight loss even when calories are unrestricted. Lipophilia explanation is better
8. Role of Behavior vs. Role of Physiology in Obesity Obesity is a psychological problem that can be fixed by being a better calorie calculator. Obesity is a physiological problem that can often be fixed simply by a low carb diet. Lipophilia explanation is better
9. What is Our Fat Tissue The calorie calculator theory says absolutely nothing about how, why, when, and where excess calories 'turn into' fat and nothing about why some people get fat while others don’t. Provides a very specific explanation of how, why, when, and where fat accumulates as well as why some people get fat and others don't. Lipophilia explanation is better
10. Unexplained Weight Changes People who gain/lose fat as the result of drugs, genetics, diseases, brain injuries, natural body development, hormonal or metabolic shifts or other biochemical activity only do so because these factors somehow change their calorie intake/expenditure. Weight changes resulting from medications, genetics, hormonal changes, and so forth must be caused by indirect changes to fat tissue metabolism. Lipophilia explanation is better
11. Public Conviction that Calories Count Health authorities almost unanimously support the calorie calculator theory because the evidence supports it and/or because competing hypotheses, like Lipophilia, have been disproven. Health authorities almost unanimously support the calorie calculator theory only because they are unaware that the Lipophilia Hypothesis even exists and because they have, by and large, ignored the science supporting the low carb diet. Lipophilia explanation is better

Return from Conclusions to Home Page

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10.18.11 Beyond Caloriegate Cover Art

Check this out: The Black Box: A NEW Way of Thinking about Fat Loss (Or: The Actual, Legit, For Real (Seriously!) Reason Why You Cannot Lose Fat, Even Though You Are, Indeed, “Eating Less And Moving More")

I know it sounds hyperbolic, but I believe that this Black Box concept is the key -- perhaps our ONLY hope -- for solving the obesity epidemic. In other words, without The Black Box, or something like it, our society is doomed to be destroyed by obesity, diabetes and other diet-related chronic diseases. No joke. I 100% believe this. So check it out!