Do Calories Matter in Ketosis: Insulin vs Thermodynamics (With Dr. Anderson)

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Is a calorie a calorie? It’s something that I’ve talked about before. It’s something that a lot of people ask me, and there’s one particular question that comes to mind that I want to address in this video.

But before I get to that question, I want to introduce a good friend of mine, Joe Anderson, who’s a PhD in Chemical Engineering and has also published over 40 peer-reviewed articles in the world of pulmonary science. He is an expert in ketosis, and also an expert in how we measure ketones. I think you’re a good person to really talk to about the world of calories.

Sure. Yeah, I’d like to.

The question that I want to bring to mind is that of, “Is a calorie a calorie?” And what someone brought up to me was if someone were to increase their calories but be on a ketogenic diet, would they still lose as much weight as someone that was just on a calorie-restrictive diet.

In other words, if you’re eating the right kind of foods, can you get away with eating more calories? Does calories-in versus calories-out really matter? I want to turn it to you, just briefly just kind of big picture on this on what your take is on that. Then I’ve got some ideas that I want to bounce off you too.

Yeah that’s great. I think kind of the short of it is, calories-in, calories-out do matter. But the nuance piece is it depends on what calories you’re putting in. Right? If you put in calories like sugar, and you have less sugar calories than you’re burning, then that deficit, so the difference between how much you’re bringing in, and how much you need, is gonna be subsidized by your stored body fat. Right?

The problem with that is how long can you do that for? It may be for a month. It may be for a couple of months, but you’re eventually gonna burn out. That’s why those calorie-restriction diets are very difficult. So what you really want to do is have good calories coming in, and I know a lot of people will go on a diet, and the first thing people will say is eat healthy foods, and a lot times the reason that works is you’re cutting out all those processed junk foods.

So once again, the type of calories is important. If you can get rid of foods that cause your body to have dysfunction, and it may be hormonal dysfunction, it may be processing dysfunction, and replace those with good calories, that’s a step in the right direction.

Then the second piece along with that, once again the nuance piece, is if you’re on a high fat, low sugar diet. One of the nice pieces with that is it allows you to regulate how much you want to bring in. Right? It satiates your appetite, so you may not overeat with a high fat, very low sugar diet. That’s gonna once again, kind of balance out your calories-in, calories-out.

Actually it’s funny you say that. I just did a video yesterday, so it’s fresh in my mind about CCK, cholecystokinin and how ketosis affects that. I don’t want to go into a lot of detail on that but basically, CCK is a hormone that is released especially when you’re in ketosis that does cause you to be satiated.

So a calorie is not always a calorie, but one thing that I want to really address in this, and we were talking about this before the video and what actually spawned this video to begin with, was the fact of truly finding where your baseline caloric needs are is extremely, extremely difficult.

So to be able to say that you need to be in a calorie deficit, although that’s true because simple thermodynamics do apply. You do need to yes, technically be consuming less calories in order to lose weight. We don’t really know what less calories is, and it can change from day to day because we have so many different external influencing factors.

We have things like insulin that will definitely influence other hormones. We have cortisol. We have testosterone. We have estrogen. We have our moods. We have heat. We have cool. We can’t ever determine exactly where we are calorically, where we need to be.

Right it’s an average measurement, and it’s measured like you said, it’s probably varying every day. It depends on the conditions, so when you do one of those measurements it’s a measurement that’s taken over about 30 minutes in a resting position in a bed. But like you said, how does that change hour by hour, minute by minute is somewhat unknown.

So there is an individualized piece of that that’s certainly gonna change. The other piece that I want to go back to is this calories-in, calories-out and the specific types of calories. You also have to remember to add to that list is you have different types of fat. Right, you have the white adipose tissue or the brown adipose tissue. The use of fat in the brown adipose tissue can be separate from energy generation meaning it’s not creating energy for your body to use, it’s just creating heat.
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20 thoughts on “Do Calories Matter in Ketosis: Insulin vs Thermodynamics (With Dr. Anderson)

  1. I had VSG surgery and following the Keto diet as well as intermittent fasting. I get full so fast and I'm afraid that I'm not getting in enough calories in. I'm not hungry often all but lately I've been tired. 3rd week in on Keto.

  2. What?!?!I learn more from the comments. So 100 calories of cheese is better than 100 calories of chocolate ?

  3. First of all, thanks for your amazing content. I have a question that I hope you can respond. If I have a special dinner that I know in advance that I would consume more than 1,200 calories, closed to my daily intake to maintain deficit. Can I skip that day the breakfast and lunch? So all calories of a day are in just one meal. And maybe skip breakfast the other day? Is that a feasible strategy to pursue once in a while? Or it does not work for weight loss?

  4. My weight loss strategy:

    1: CICO = weight loss.
    2: Intermittent Fasting makes CICO easier because I'm only eating once or twice per day.
    3: KETO makes IF easier because eating high fat means I'm less hungry and can get through my fast without issue.

    I use keto as a tool… it aids me in my journey. It's not a magic pill that allows me to eat 8000 calories of bacon every day and lose weight. It just doesn't work that way.

    I'm down almost 100 pounds now.

  5. Why do you always show broll of your perfect shirtless body? It makes me feel bad about myself

  6. Is a calorie a calorie? The answer is yes. You know why? Because it's a calorie. It's a measurement of energy. I don't understand why nutritionists still can't separate physics and biology properly. Also, cite evidence, research etc. If there are biological studies to back your hypothesis then wow! That's amazing. But a whole video, talking to an 'expert' without one study referenced??? Come on. That's poor form at best. The fact your 'expert' is someone who is an 'expert' in your specific point of view is just embarrassing. Your 'evidence' fits as well as your shirt does.

  7. I am trying to build muscle. But on keto I can get 1500-1700 calories at most with 2 meals. I can get good amounts of proteins and fats but…

    Should I focus on nutrients or calories?
    People around me keep saying you should get more calories, is it true ?

  8. "Strangely, some individuals have reported that they can over consume calories on a

    ketogenic diet without gaining as much fat as would be expected. While this seems to contradict

    basic thermodynamics, it may be that the excess dietary fat is excreted as excess ketones rather

    than being stored. Frequently these individuals note that urinary ketone levels as measured by

    64Ketostix ™ are much deeper when they over consume calories. Obviously at some point a

    threshold is reached where fat consumption is higher than utilization, and fat will be stored."

    One study has examined the effect of increasing amounts of dietary fat while on a low carbohydrate diet and found that up to 600 grams of fat per day could be consumed before weight

    gain began to occur (48). This effect only occurred in subjects given corn oil, which is high in

    essential fatty acids, but did not occur in subjects given olive oil, which is not. The corn oil

    subjects reported a feeling of warmth, suggesting increased caloric expenditure which generated

    heat. This obviously deserves further research."

    -Lyle Mcdonal, the ketogenic diet

  9. I was losing so much weight when I started keto even after the water weight, then I got way too strict down to around 90 calories and 6-12 net carbs and my weight stalled for 2 weeks… ate 1,300 calories one day and the next day I dropped 3 lbs… did it again and next day down 2 more! That’s how many calories I was eating towards the beginning so I guess that’s my sweet spot?!

  10. So should I bother counting my MCT oil. Should I be counting fat in my fab soluble vitamins or supplements?

  11. Then why do Keto if you just cut calories? Your body will store the calories from sugars. Will it store calories from no sugar foods? Yes calories have the same energy 4184, but the body does not burn these the same. There are different pathways that these calories take. Not all will be stored.

  12. down to 101.5 kg from 108 kg in 20 days on keto… less than 2000 calories per day.
    Target – 85kg

  13. Thomas u dont need any experts in to explain thing' r a wealth of information and knowledge…id rather listen to you …!

  14. I really appreciate this information, I'm fasting for 3 days and I'm 2 hours away from 72 hours fasting and triggering major ketosis, if its sooner my bad but I'm pretty sure by now I'm in ketosis. But I also want to maintain a caloric deficit, is ketosis going to keep my metabolism boosted while I use fat as energy and lose weight from the deficit? I really need help on this. Than you.

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