Yes, Virginia, a Calorie is Just a Calorie – Part I

That’s because a calorie is simply a defined unit of measure: a measure of heat. So, just as all meters, ounces, and hectares are fully fungible amongst members of their class with each being indistinguishable from another, so it is with calories. More specifically, when referring to calories in the context of food, every calorie in the world represents the amount of energy required to warm one gram of air-free water from 14.5 °C to 15.5 °C at standard atmospheric pressure.  If that were all there was to the story, then we could move on, but unfortunately, our work is not done yet because there exists an entire school of thought out there that extrapolates from this equivalence and pushes the thermo-chemical calorie into territory where it was never meant...

The Heisendiet Effect

The Heisendiet Effect

The man in the photograph is Werner Heisenberg, a name that might be familiar to you in the guise of the eponymous Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, or you might know it from the name of the antihero protagonist of Breaking Bad. The Heisenberg of Uncertainty Principle fame told us back in 1927 that when it comes to physical properties of a particle, there is a fundamental limit to what can be known simultaneously, so the more precise we are with respect to the momentum of a particle, for example, the less we can know about its position, and vice versa. The layman’s form of expressing this idea comes to us as a joke about Werner Heisenberg who is driving along the highway when he realizes that there is a police cruiser behind him, indicating that he should...

Intermittent Fasting, Autophagy, and mTOR – Part I

Intermittent Fasting, Autophagy, and mTOR – Part I

Rob, a reader from Ireland, pointed me to a worrying post regarding the potentially negative aspects of intermittent fasting and asked about my opinon of it.  Ok, I’m being generous here by throwing in the modifier potentially, because the post’s author definitely holds the viewpoint that fasting will kill you … I’m paraphrasing here and exaggerating a bit for effect, but not much since the actual quote from the posts’s conclusion is:   John Kiefer The research consistently shows that the only thing IF brings to the table for athletes is detriment. IF shuts off the very anabolic processes on which we rely for improving performance. IF manages to drive beneficial metabolic processes into destructive cellular chaos. In the...

Intermittent Fasting – A Primer

This post has been a long time coming, and I’ve posted it in various forms, and bits and pieces in several internet haunts, but at long last, I’ve repatriated it here. When it comes to intermittent fasting, the amount of misunderstanding, misconceptions, and misinformation out there finally compelled me to put metaphorical pen to metaphorical paper here.   First thing first, just to get it out of the way, intermittent fasting is not a miracle cure for all that ails you. I think that there is a lot there to recommend it to people, I practice my version of it, and have been at it for coming on five years now, and I fully intend to keep doing it. I do recognize, however, that it cannot be all things to all people. If anyone tries to tell you that...

How Kim Lost 10 lbs. in 10 days!

How Kim Lost 10 lbs. in 10 days!

That’s what the breathless headline blared from the cover of the celebrity tabloid at the magazine stand.  Now, I’m not much for gossip, so I didn’t read the article.  As a result, I am completely in the dark when it comes to what dietary strategy, supplements, exercise, or other tactics Kim employed to achieve this newsworthy outcome.  I do know a few things about metabolism, however, and this gave me pause. The implication of the headline is that the weight lost was fat, so naturally, we may ask what would one have to do in order to lose one pound of fat per day?  By now, it is more or less generally accepted that one pound of fat is 3500 calories, so Kim would have had to create a daily caloric deficit in that amount.  And how does one go...