I don’t like that I post so many rants, but what can I say? The nutrition world gives me lots to rant about. Lots. And if I may say, many of the emails I get from you, my beloved readers, specifically mention how much you enjoy my sass and snark. So, if sass and snark are what ye seek, then sass and snark are what ye shall receive! Especially when it comes to today’s topic.
I’ve written before about the complete and utter crapstorm that is the very concept of “calories.” (That post is from April 2014. I’ve acquired a lot of new readers since then, so if you’ve never read that one, do click on over and give it a whirl. It’s a good one, if I do say so myself.)
Okay, so, calories.
When it comes to
weight fat loss, we’ve heard over and over again that it comes down to one
thing: calories in, calories out (CICO). (Or is that two things?) Or, rather,
it comes down to weight loss reduced adiposity being the result when someone
takes in fewer calories than they burn. People are so stubbornly wedded to this idea that “Woo”
famously calls them CICOpaths, CICOphants, or CICOtards. (With apologies to the
reader who took me to task for my “Don’t Be a Ketard” series title, which has
been renamed “Being Fat Adapted Versus ‘In Ketosis.’”)
As you know, I try to be careful about how I phrase things. (Case in point: the crossed out stuff in the preceding paragraph.) Part of this comes from me being an English major and language nerd, and part of it comes from knowing that when we phrase things incorrectly, they may not even be relevant. For example, I try to say “accumulate adipose tissue” more often than I say “gain weight.” Because gaining weight and accumulating adipose are not the same thing. If you gain weight, that might be water, muscle, bone, or, for the truly crunchy/hippie among you, a pounds’ worth of leg and armpit hair. And I try to say lose body fat rather than lose weight, because you can lose water, muscle, bone, etc., and when the vast majority of us talk about “weight loss,” what we really mean—and what we really want—is fat loss.
The reason why I’m such a stickler for saying things a certain way is because saying them more precisely/accurately helps us frame discussions in a certain light. And the reason why I’m explaining to you why I’m such a stickler is because we are going to frame today’s discussion in a certain light. One that I don’t think gets anywhere near enough attention in the nutrition and health world (except from me). As far as I can tell, I am one of the only people writing about this particular thing in this particular way. (If I’m wrong, tell me in the comments and share links to relevant stuff you find.)
What the heck am I talking about? What is the point that’s taking me so much prep work and blathering to get to?