Too much food

(Joey) #41

Well then, that sure looks like a pretty sharp decline in metabolic rate and must be a rather scary loss of muscle mass if that’s what is causing such a drop in energy expenditure.

I appreciate it’s merely a cartoon graph, but the concept of such a sharp decline in energy expenditure with markedly higher caloric intake is still kind of lost on my simple mind. :man_shrugging:

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #42

There’s no time frame, so it represents simply change over some arbitrary time and not necessarily fast or ‘sharp decline’. If it takes 6 months to a year to lose those 40 pounds, the decrease in energy would probably be not noticed by a sedentary person. And as I noted re myself, a more active person would likely experience an increase in energy as I did.

(Joey) #43

Thanks for summarizing your own trajectory, which sounds similar to mine. Rather than a slowing metabolism, it sounds like yours sped up?

Without actual kcal data, I’d guess that my metabolism has followed a similar course of eating input and expenditure. Anecdote: I feel more like a hummingbird now on LCHF than I did as a duck on LFHC. That’s why the sharp drop in energy expenditure shown still puzzles me.

(Joey) #44

Agreed! On keto, I’ve never felt more energetic … so perhaps I need to force myself to become more sedentary to pursue that sharply dropping expenditure line :crazy_face:


No because your energy need is high. But for many of us it makes perfect sense.
I still tend to eat a tiny bit more fat than protein because I eat more than I should and I LOVE fat (protein too but fat is easier to eat for me. I dislike most lean meats)… But I had days with twice as much protein as fat, it was fine (I had twice as much fat than protein too, way more often but well, it’s me with my supressed desire to eat as much fat as I wish. it’s not too bad now, it was way harder in the first few years).
On my lowest-cal days I eat more protein than fat, it’s normal. I can’t keep my protein low (adequate), I tried at some point and failed all the time. But my body is fine with it so it’s all good.

Your diagram actually shows about the same amount of protein and fat in the beginning… I actually have the odd 1400 kcal days (it’s very very low for me but occasionally happens), just usually with way more protein. So I eat more protein and fat then. Nothing is wrong with that. Some people eating low-cal even need way more than 90g… So the percentage goes up. One doesn’t need lean days for that, I eat more protein than fat using quite fatty protein sources sometimes… I am at the point when I may feel pork shoulders too lean, I have that with pork chuck since long… But I still need my high protein and if I don’t eat very much food, my fat can’t go beyond that…

When I was a carnivore newbie, my body couldn’t handle much fat (as I lost volume and my food felt fattier and well, it was for its total weight). And it was so new and my body was confused and okay with less food than before. I still ate fatty, maybe not for the average ketoer but I stayed away from all low-fat protein sources… But my protein surely was often more than my fat. It’s just logical, how else could I eat in that situation? There was no other way and it was fine.

(Bob M) #46

As with everything, I think it’s complex.

When Diet Doctor came out saying that the actual Diet Doctor had lost weight by using high protein, lower fat, there was a huge kerfuffle on Twitter. It was people for high P:E or against it.

I won’t go into all the details, but Amber O’Hearn brought up the point that some people can’t access their fat in order to be able to eat higher protein. This isn’t a bad theory.

I think part of what happens over time, is that you can access your fat stores. I believe this is primarily “insulin resistance” being lowered, but I don’t know exactly how this works.

But if you HAVE access to your fat, then increasing protein has benefits, including being harder to “burn”.

I think this is why some people get hungry while eating higher protein – they’re effectively starving.

I also think the people who do the best on higher protein tend to be males who have a lot of muscle mass (here’s looking at you, Ted Naiman). This isn’t always true (I’ve seen women who do well on it, too), but in general it seems true.

I think muscle mass helps because it’s an insulin “sink” and I postulate you need higher protein to maintain that mass. Consider a male who weighs 160 pounds. How much protein do they need? Consider the same male, but add 30 pounds of muscle. How much protein do they need?

And I know most people here are anti-insulin (with good reason), but insulin is how muscles grow.

Consider whey protein. Whey protein is so highly insulinogenic that you can use it to lower post-prandial glucose response.

Reconsider the male who weighs 190 pounds with 30 pounds of muscle who has just lifted weights for 60-90 minutes. He eats whey protein, let’s say with some carbs. Where do you think that insulin and blood glucose go? I’d say the muscles get a large portion of it. Maybe all of it.

Now make that male 250 pounds and without some or all of that 30 pounds of muscle (as I was when I stated low carb). Even if this person exercises then eats whey (say, with carbs), where do you think that insulin and blood sugar go? Probably into fat, particularly since insulin resistance of fat will be low.

This is why I think there are so many different opinions about protein. Some people really can’t eat higher protein (they “starve”), yet others can. When I was a body builder, I ate a ton of protein with no issues and did not become obese. (That was caused by beer, pizza, ice cream.)

I also theorize this is why some have a harder time fasting. If you can’t access your fat to get energy, you’re doomed when you fast.

Finally, I think that as your metabolism gets better over time, your resting metabolic rate should go UP. Why? Because you now have access to your fat. I see this anecdotally all the time: people say they exercise more while on low carb, after being on it a while, than they did on high carb.

Makes perfect sense to me, as you have access to energy stored in your fat.

Brad over at Fire in a Bottle has a post related to this:

And Gary Taubes has the theory of the “starving fat man”, where you’re not getting fat because you’re eating more, you’re eating more because you’re getting fat [and energy is locked into that fat].

(Old Baconian) #47

As the note at the bottom mentions, the expenditure rises from 30 kcal/kg before the weight loss to 32 kcal/kg after. Also, the total decrease is not just from slightly decreased muscle mass, it is also from the loss of 40 lbs. (18.2 kg) of fat mass, which had its own energy requirements. For what it’s worth, Dr. Phinney asserts that, while the chart is made up, the case it presents is typical of his clinical experience.

(Joey) #48

Agreed. That’s why I’ve been struggling to understand the meaning of the declining expenditure line in the graph.

I’m a big Phinney fan and I appreciate the chart was offered as a cartoon version, not a specific individual. Still, the sharp decline in total expenditure (despite the rise in expenditure per kg of weight) of almost 20% seems hard to square with what many “sense” through their own experience. Perhaps because our fat was quietly burning calories without producing “useful” energy we could tap for intentional purposes? Who knows. All respect to Dr Phinney.

(Old Baconian) #49

I suspect you are getting hung up on the details, here. Remember, the sole point of the graph is to illustrate how eating to satiety means not having to calculate calories in or calories out, nothing more. Dr. Phinney discusses this graph in several of his presentations to LCDU events a few years ago, all available on YouTube, if you want to get it from the horse’s mouth.

(Joey) #50

I’ve read Phinney’s books and watched his presentations. Invaluable material. The details matter. That’s why I remain confused over how an unsustainably low caloric intake (which ought to promote a metabolic shutdown) does the opposite of a right-sized caloric intake (in which expenditure drops).

Suggesting that such details don’t matter is merely assuming away the question. :shushing_face:

For not having to calculate calories, that graph sure seems to have a lot of calorie math going on. :wink:

(Simon Saunders) #51

When i meet Dr Phinney and we took a hike together, I explained after my testing the protein load per meal makes a difference, you don’t get the same result on your morning fasted blood ketones if you ate OMAD style vs spreading the protein load per day, this chart was formulated for nutational ketosis.


Like myself, you can see this testing your morning fasted blood ketones.

We could get into a different spectrum as he spoke about under a certain caloric intake your body will produce nutational ketosis so you could create a weight loss diet with protein equated fats at a certain level and carbs higher than what is possible during the maintenance phase.

(Simon Saunders) #52

It’s pretty predictable, if medications or lack of lean mass is affecting BMR then that would need to be addressed first and I wouldn’t even try and lose weight, and of course, our height age affects those levels as well.

Other cavitate for women that have a cycle need to increase caloric intake around 359 calories 1 week before menstruation, (to maintain the same deficit) otherwise if someone is trying to lose weight in a deficit may drop below the minimum affecting hormones.

This shows the rates of loss in a deficit adjusted by excess weight size on average heights but of course won’t be the same if someone is 4 foot 5.


I’m a bit shocked by this diagram. Is it really something Virta does/recommend? Or is it a diagram from Virta showing what one should NOT do?

Because it looks a lot like CICO: deficit of Kcal to lose weigh, then same CI as CO for maintenance.

If that isn’t the CICO principle, I don’t know what CICO is.

What I understand from keto is that you can eat as much as you want to be hunger free, as long as you don’t eat more than, say, 20 g and not too much protein, so as to keep insulin down.

Why would one need to keep to the 32 Kcal/kg if CICO isn’t a thing?

(Old Baconian) #54

It’s a hypothetical case to illustrate how to eat to satiety at every stage of a well-formulated ketogenic diet. The chart is descriptive, not prescriptive. The subject of the chart is a hypothetical woman with a certain amount of excess fat to shed. As she eats her low-carb, high-fat diet to satiety, her appetite hormones set her appetite so that a portion of her energy expenditure is funded from her fat store. As the fat store diminishes, more and more of her energy needs are met from her diet, until the maintenance phase, where all her excess fat is gone and she is meeting all her energy needs from her food intake.

We are meant to follow this woman’s example and eat to satiety, not to a caloric target. The point of the chart is to illustrate how eating to satiety does not involve either calculating macros or tracking calories. Obviously, if we are in fat-loss mode we are going to be eating at a caloric deficit—that’s just basic physics—but the cause of the deficit is the fact that we are in fat-loss mode, not that we are deliberately trying to eat less.

(Jane) #55

LOL. If ONLY it were that simple to calculate a constant rate of weight loss and never have stalls!!!

But if you want to believe it and it works for you, then you are very fortunate.

Of course “weight loss” means water and muscle in addition to fat loss. And the rate of loss definitely slows down with the less you have to lose, so that part is correct. But anyone who has been here more than a few months knows weight loss is neither linear, nor can it be calculated since metabolism rises and falls with our intake.


You can do this but you can’t expect you definitely will lose fat. Maybe it happens, maybe not. If I just eat until satiation, I don’t lose fat anymore (I did when I was fatter and I didn’t need ketosis for that) - unless I use enough “tricks” to ensure I eat little enough. It doesn’t happen automatically, not even when I avoid added fat, the bane of my fat-loss chances even on very low-carb.
Many people experience the same. It’s quite possible to eat too much on keto to lose weight if we don’t choose our food well or if the timing is off etc.
The hypothetical woman (somewhat similar to me except if it’s about eating) eats very little compared to me.1500 kcal or less? Cute first meal and I get hungry in 1-3 hours. Usually even on carnivore where my average food intake is lowest as my food satiates me best (if I choose it well).
Good for her but not all of us can do that and not being hungry a lot.

If you ask me, CICO is a thing. But CICO is super complicated so it can’t necessarily help much. Okay, it can’t help me even if I totally know my CI and CO (of course that is never true but I could guess it well enough in the past) as I keep eating when hungry. Tracking just showed some problems and facts for me, I may got a hint about what to do when I want to change my macros without forcing myself. And I collect unusual macro numbers :wink:

(Old Baconian) #57

This is actually how a ketogenic diet is supposed to work. You lose excess fat, and then when it’s gone, you continue to eat to satiety and don’t lose more. The problem comes when we don’t agree with our body about how much fat to carry.

In my case, I lost 80 lbs. (about 36 kg) very easily, then my fat loss tapered off. I’d look a lot better if I could shed a further 80 lbs., but that’s not what my body appears to want. My weight has been stable since late 2017, even though I lost another inch or two off my waist after that. If I hadn’t gotten the health benefits I needed and if my knees still hurt, etc., I’d be upset and trying to lose more fat, but as it is, I decided not to argue with my body.


So, you’re saying that if we’re getting energy from fat, not carbs, we can be in a caloric deficit, because the extra calories we’d be getting from food, we are still getting, but from our own fat stores, right?

But that’s still the CICO scenario for losing weight: expenditure greater than ingested calories = weightloss. They say to eat less, so you’ll lose weight and a good chunk of that weight is going to be fat from your fat stores.

Like you say “…if we are in fat-loss mode we are going to be eating at a caloric deficit—that’s just basic physics…”

Later you say you stopped losing weight. But as long as there’s fat on the body and one’s fat adapted, why wouldn’t one lose weight?

If one is fat adapted, or even better, Keto adapted, then as long as there’s fat in the body, one could even stop eating, except for the necessary protein amount, and live of one’s body fat. No need for carbs, nor dietary fat. Only proteins.

If that hypothetical woman only eats 1400 kcal spontaneously, it would be because her fat adapted body prefers to use calories from own fat stores, instead of dietary calories, right?

At least for 600 kcal worth of body fat per day.

Then, why would her keto adapted body suddenly stop using her fat stores for fuel? And if it didn’t stop using her body fat stores for fuel, why would she stop losing weight?

If she’s eating keto, her insulin is kept under control, therefore she isn’t storing energy as fat. But she isn’t losing weight anymore. Does anyone know why?

Is fat adaptation, for those who can actually get it at all, just temporary?


I agree with you.

I suspect no matter what we do, our bodies get set to a certain condition and they find a way back to that.

If you keep fighting, you may control the damage to a certain extent. Constant vigilance is necessary.

I’m not talking only about weightloss.


Nope. We can’t get unlimited amount of energy from our fat reserves. There is a limit (there is a formula and that not works for everyone, of course…) and if one has little to lose, it’s not hard to need more than that. So the body starves, loses muscles, functions not ideally…
But there are problems with eating only 1-200g protein and nothing else anyway… I think we need fat to get enough nutrients but the knowledgeable folks should talk about this and not me after my bedtime. Most people would feel horrible on protein only anyway, I mean very short term. I would STARVE (even if my fat reserves would be enough. they probably aren’t), I mean, I would be so, so hungry and weak and everything. Not eating anything is loads better… On the first days, at least.