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A chemist I know told me once that counting...
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A chemist I know told me once that counting calories on products is pointless, because of how they are measured and the difference between the efficiency of how they are absorbed between individuals. Today I found an article featuring some of his arguments (and lots more), showing it's even more complicated. The whole point of losing weight relies on the difference between calories intake and outtake, but we can't really measure any of that.

Here's the mentioned article:
http://digg.com/2016/calorie-unit-broken
And here's how it is determined how many calories products have:
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-do-food-manufacturers/

Is the whole concept of calories flawed? Discuss.
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On the surface it's just fine but every body probably does absorb or utilize calories and macro/micro nutrients different as well as have different requirements and needs. I'm by no means a fat activist or accepted at all but as a 30 year old man I know for a fact my body does not use food or calories like it use to and I imagine it's very different for every body.
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Have you ever noticed how people who complain about calories in/calories out tend to be really fat and out of shape?

Weird.
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Try making 2x as much food as you'll eat, burn half of it to determine how many calories it contains, then eat the other half and burn the shit resulting from it to get your efficiency and converting actual calories to useful calories.
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Think about it. It works for everyone except fat tumblr sjws. You don't burn exactly 2500 kcal a day nor you eat exactly 2500, but it gives you a solid starting point.
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They measure calories by literally burning all available energy out of it. Sure, it's a crude way to measure calories but it's an absolute number. Even though absorption differs from person to person, you will never get more than the listed amount, since then you be breaking laws of physics and getting energy out of nowhere. If anything, this argument helps to support weight loss, since you'll most likely digest under the listed calories
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So what you're saying is this TDEE calculator might be 100 or so calories off?

Better throw out calorie counting altogether! Taco diet here I come! I can eat as many tacos as I want as long as I have a shake made out of grass and hot sauce and chia seeds? Cool!
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>>35788039
It's not an argument about the in/out thing being broken, but right, that kinda implies it's mostly pointless.

>>35788083
You can lose weight without keeping track of calories, but still keeping up to a certain diet. There actually are diets that don't rely on calories.
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>>35788132
All diets rely on calories. It's a bloody unit of energy. Unless suck your fat out with a straw.
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>>35788129
The point is, it's not 100. More like +/- 600.
So if you make up a 2000 Cal diet, you could actually land somewhere between 1400 and 2600 Cals
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>>35788117
>>35788117
That's not how it's measured anymore
>http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-do-food-manufacturers/

Also, by burning fuel you can't get 100% energy out of it, and how much you can get depends on the fuel
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>>35788129
No one implies trowing away diets. If anything is implied, then it's not using calories while making them up.

>>35788165
A unit which we can't really measure.
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>>35787949
>>35788167

Obviously there are various differences between individuals in absorption, metabolic rate, etc., but that is a given. It doesn't render the principle unsound; it just means that good, accurate data has to come from personal testing over a period of several days to weeks. the OP saying
>The whole point of losing weight relies on the difference between calories intake and outtake, but we can't really measure any of that.
is obviously bullshit because you can measure it yourself if you log what you're fucking eating and then see if you're gaining/losing weight and by how much.
>Is the whole concept of calories flawed?
No. /thread
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>>35788231
>good, accurate data has to come from personal testing over a period of several days to week
>log what you're fucking eating and then see if you're gaining/losing
I agree, but you don't really need calories to do any of that. It's just an empty notion to a great degree.
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>>35787949
Here's a mind blower for you

You have a better idea of your calorie intake when you try to count calories than when you don't

It doesn't matter if they're improperly measured, it's not fucking random number generation. It's the best approximation you're going to get, so make due.
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http://www.8700.com.au/kj-explained/what-is-a-kj/

What is a kJ?

kJ (kilojoules) is the Australian measure of how much energy people get from consuming a food or drink. Energy in food and drinks is measured by the number of kJ (kilojoules) it provides.

kJ are similar to Calories:

1 kJ = 0.2 Calories (Cals)
1 Calorie = 4.2 kJs

We need energy for our bodies and physical activity.

Knowing the number of kJ in the food we eat can help us ensure you get the right amount of energy for your needs.

>People may remember that food energy used to be measured in Calories. Some countries still use those units.
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>>35788331
This op is a massive faggot and is probably a hamplanet
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>>35788331
I agree, they aren't completely useless. But quantifying your diet by them is like answering while being asked "how tall are you?" with "one, maybe two meters?".
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Counting calories is easy as fuck. Get the My Fitness Pal app on your phone right FUCKING now and use it.

I lost 5 pounds in a month just by using the fucking app.
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>>35788371
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joule

2000 calories = about 8700kJ.

Most people need much less than 8700kJ because their jobs have very little activity. Unless you are a manual laborer you can safely assume your job as a "low" level of physical activity.

Unless you are a professional athlete, you can safely assume you never have a "high" level of physical activity, but merely a moderate level.

And hey, maybe you actually do have a "high" level of activity once in a while, or whenever you workout. But let's be practical here. If you underestimate your activity, and overestimate your sedentariness, the calculations you are following will bring you results faster.
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You're right, to an extent, op. Yes, caloric absorption is different person to person. However, it still isn't possible to absorb more than you eat. The inefficiency can effectively be passed off as part of the calories expended by the body.
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>>35788371
Dude, I could recite the definition of calorie and it's relation to Joules while being waken up in the middle of the night.

>Knowing the number of kJ in the food we eat can help us ensure you get the right amount of energy for your needs.
Yes, but it's a very rough estimate.

Scientists know how it is unsuited for dieting, and they are looking for other measures, e.g. based on satiety or nutrients density.
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>>35787949
it's more likely that you are miscounting your energy intake and expenditure than the chance that you are some kind of genetic freak.

but ever since the dawn of time there have been people who want to be unique.
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Of course it's flawed, but I bet that chemist was fat wasn't he?

Its not perfect, but it's still the closest estimate you can get and most efficient way of tracking how much you eat, unless you're eating the same fucking thing every day, there's really no other efficient or close way to tell how much you're eating
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Sure we can't measure it, that's why we try to regulate it in broad strokes (like 500 kcal steps)
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>>35788474
>saitety

ok fatass, i'm not going to try to convince you of scientific facts, you can take it or leave it. believe whatever quack that tells you what you want to hear, and remain a fatass until he finds a solution or you die an early death (which is probably going to happen first).

>satiety
you can get more full on a bowl of greens, and oatmeal and chicken breast than you can on a double cheese burger, and some fries. it stays longer, has more micro, and macro nutrients, and more fiber so you don't get COLON CANCER.
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>>35788129

Dat strawman tho
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>>35788481
*Sigh* You are making assumptions. I'm not making excuses. And this thread is not about in/out being wrong. It's about our inability to measure ingested energy, and thus the point of measuring energy in dieting at all.
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>>35788167
>So if you make up a 2000 Cal diet, you could actually land somewhere between 1400 and 2600 Cals
That is impossible because labeled calories represent an upper limit. You can only consume LESS than what's labeled.
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>>35788491
Not really, average, which is something for his age.
>there's really no other efficient or close way to tell how much you're eating
Agreed. That's why I prefer sticking to some proven diet that works for me, rather than trying to count calories on my own.

Does /fit/ always approach matters that contradict their beliefs with such a zeal?
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>>35788505
I'm not seeking advice on losing weight. You are missing the point.
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I don't understand why everyone is getting so triggered and offended over this, as if this removes their autistic oversimplifying of the human body known as "calories in calories out bro IIFYM that's all there is bro". this just means that there's a lot of ambiguity involved in choosing the right amount of calories for your goals.

still, I thought it was common knowledge that the whole "2000 calories - normal intake for a normal man" meme was stupid and doesn't apply to anyone because there are so many different factors in different bodies?
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>>35788625
fatass on damage control

no YOU are missing the point

there's an established, proven way to measure your intake of energy, and expendature of energy, and you are denying it because it's not perfect.

have you ever heard of an NP-complete problem? well it's a computational science concept.

it means that no perfect solution exists to a problem, but there are plenty of practical solutions that work "well enough". if you apply this to other areas of your life you will get more shit done (in this case, losing weight and becoming healthier) than you would if you were paralysed by indecisiveness and tilting at windmills for the holy grail.
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>>35787949
>Use some online calculator to estimate caloric needs based on gender/height/weight/fitness goals
>Count your calories and track your weight
>Adjust your caloric intake based on the results
so hard
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>>35788679
Impossible Mode: Use the My Fitness Pal app
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>>35788649
And this folks, is how you create religion.
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>>35788699
you're hopeless.
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>>35788699
wat
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>>35788331
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>>35787949
It doesn't matter. The majority of macronutrients are absorbed. Lactose, for example, causes problem when consumed in only a couple grams in lactose intolerant people. But people who can metabolize it fine don't have such problems from lactose. Ergo, it's being absorbed.
>we can't really measure any of that.
The point is that all macronutrients have energy, and tracking said macronutrients accounts for energy intake. You take it as a whole, and don't worry about actual absorption, as loss is minimal in comparison to what is absorbed. And energy loss is already largely accounted for. Take protein, which is touted as having 4 calories per gram by illiterates on /fit/. The actual calories, however, are 5.4 per gram. The label already accounts for to the thermic effect of protein. Now take fiber: fiber calories measured in a calorimeter produce 4 calories per gram, same as all carbs. But we lack the enzyme to digest cellulose and the likes, and so the actual energy absorbed is zero. Or not quite, as intestinal microflora can and do break fiber down, resulting in available calories. So, depending on country, labels count fiber as 2 calories per gram, or 0.
All in all, it's irrelevant, as the basis of food metabolism dictates that majority is absorbed, baring diseases or abnormalities, like coeliac disease or lactose intolerance. Counting calories simply allows you to maneuver around food freely, as opposed to a inaccurate, restricted diet of limited food choices.
50 grams of sucrose, and 50 grams of dextrose, and 50 grams of starches-worth-of-oats all have nearly identical amount of calories. And this is accurate on paper measured in a caloriemeter, and also in terms of bioavailability, as most will be absorbed. But how many carbs and calories does a cup of coffee sweetened to preference have, or a bowl of oats eyeballed out have? Who fucking knows, and that's why counting calories is relevant.
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If I measure food properly and count calories it says i am processing less calories than I consume (from what I measured). The only perceivable way to gain weight is to be a fatass and eat more.

What is the problem with counting calories then?
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>>35788699
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>>35788331
FUCKING THIS
FATTIES AND SKELLIES BTFO
GET SWOLE FAGGOTS
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>>35789216
but then you have to measure your energy output to know you are taking less energy in than out. How do you do that?
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>>35787949
yeah at a fine level, but, overall it works. go on 5000 KJ a day you will loose 3KG a month.
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>>35788390
It's more like saying you are 6'1" instead of your actual height of 6'1.54783"
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>>35789365
+/- 600 Cal from your assumed calories intake doesn't seem so little to me
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>2016
>falling for the thermodynamics meme
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>>35787949
drink 134 calories, workout machine says you worked off 150 calories.
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>>35788715

That reaction face. One of my all-time heros. RIP EWD.
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>>35788649
>have you ever heard of an NP-complete problem?
>it means that no perfect solution exists to a problem
that's not what np-complete means
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>>35789389
>600
Lol ok
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>>35788117
>They measure calories by literally burning all available energy out of it.
'no'

dietary calories are adjusted for utilization, OP is a fag (what else is new) and his faggot chem-fag should stick to non-living systems
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>>35789389
Can't even read your own damn article
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>>35788167
>fatties have magic over-unity genes that allow them to produce more than 38 ATP per molecule of glucose
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>>35788649
>>35789507
for some reason I keep reading this as "NP-complete protein"

funniest part is I'm a CS major
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>>35788599
>some proven diet that works for me
The thing is, no diet will continue working. Doing Paleo for example? Sure you'll eat less calories in total, and you'll be less addicted to sugar, but at the end of the day you're going to hit a plateau in your weight loss, when you do you will not know how much less to eat.

Counting calories works for everyone and anyone, and will always work no matter what your age so long as you continue to adjust your approximate TDEE
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It doesn't really matter. Different people may require different numbers of calories depending on body composition, activity, genetics (though as a side note this has fallen out of favor because a "thrifty" gene would quickly have been selected for and spread through the population because it would give such a huge competitive advantage), but once you figure out how many calories you need even by trial and error you can keep track of your break-even point and just eat less than that. It really is the case that people who refuse to believe in calories are just deluding themselves. If you halve the number of calories you eat, you will lose weight.
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>>35789507
it's what np-complete implies. i see nothing wrong with the explanation. anyone who understands NP-completeness thoroughly enough (not that it's a terribly difficult concept) would agree.

let's not bikeshed, people.
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>>35789389
>
that's over 2400 extra kilo-joules. that's a lot of fucking energy.
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>>35787949
Ofc there are minute differences in how calories are absorbed / utilized in different individuals. There is still so much about the human body even the most intelligent doctors simply don't understand (yet). And ofc the info on the packaging is not exact to the calorie.

But you dont have to be exact with it. Unless you're an autist.

Stick to a certain diet within reason. Exercise. Track weight gain/loss. Adjust as necessary.

It's not complicated anon.
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>>35788022
>I know for a fact my body does not use food or calories like it use to

god, nobody wants to listen to your muh metabolism excuses
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>>35788844
Best post in the thread, so naturally it gets no responses.

Also nice digits.
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>>35790817
you think im going to read a post with more than 2 lines of text that isn't greentexted?
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>>35787949
>we can't really measure any of that
Yea. We can actually
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>>35787949
It is not pointless.

It helps you make educated guesses. And in the end you just have to measure your weight too control if it works.

I am a biochemist myself and I cannot exactly predict alot of things, but in the end I don't have to. Just guess the variables and measure the result and you will be fine.
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>>35788390
Which is still much better than "you cannot measure height".
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>>35787949
Does this actually matter though? No for real. As long as the system of measurement is consistent across food, and it is, then you can clearly see that 4,000kcal of pizza has four times as many calories as 1,000kcal of chicken and broccoli.

And as for individual differences between people, so what? So someone gets 1.2x as many calories as someone else from the same food. How does this change what someone is to do with regards to their diet? They still just adjust their intake to meet their goals.

Can you explain how your revelation changes how anyone should approach their diet?
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>>35788230
But you can measure it
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>>35788294
Agreed, calories are completely superfluous, you can just use kilojoules.

But for real, if you don't quantify your input and output, what's the point of keeping track.
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>>35787949
metabolic differences in humans have generally been 100-300 at most
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>>35788548
But you can measure it
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>>35787949
People think too much into it. It's also been proven that many restaurants and packaged foods state inaccurate calorie counts for their dishes. iirc it only needs to be within 20% accuracy to be approved by the FDA. Not to mention the plethora of issues that electronic scales have, or non-standard measuring cups, etc.

It's making an easy thing way too complicated in my opinion. I do think there's no 100% completely accurate way to know exactly what your TDEE is every single day, exactly how much you're burning in every individual workout, and exactly how much energy intake you have each day, but you don't need a completely accurate count, only an estimate.

If you are gaining weight and you are trying to maintain or lose, then you move more or eat less. If you want to gain weight, you eat more, and use to scale to indicate whether you are gaining too much or too little. Calories aren't perfect by any means but they don't need to be. Just eat relatively around your goals most of the time and exercise.
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>>35788699
As soon as an alternative to counting calories comes along that is better then I think you'll find people prefer it. You're approaching this discussion combatively, as if we are enemies, discussion should be about sharing ideas
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>>35788642
Keep trying to trigger people, nobody is upset, most people are just baffled by your attempts to rile them up.

Can you actually point out how an ambiguity in choosing a starting point changes anything? If your diet isn't resulting in weight loss, you just reduce calories until it does.

>>35788844
Lel, no response because unbaitable.

>>35789319
If you are putting weight on steadily then you are consuming more calories than you are spending. That's how you know.
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>>35788230
>a unit which we can't really measure
Retard alert
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