The Core Confusion of the “Calories In – Calories Out” Theory


Eating less does not cause long-term fat loss. Exercising more does not cause long-term fat loss. Thinking in these terms won’t help you. The issue is not calorie quantity, but poor calorie quality causing a hormonal clog that removes your fat metabolism system’s need and ability to burn body fat. One more time, the issue is not calorie quantity, but poor calorie quality.

Unfortunately, the people teaching us about eating and exercise—the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)—have not seen the science. Take this excerpt from chapter 3 of the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans: “Since many adults gain weight slowly over time, even small decreases in calorie intake can help avoid weight gain.”

Here’s the bureaucrats’ basic misunderstanding: If “small decreases in calorie intake” lead to gradual weight loss, does that mean “small decreases in calorie intake” will eventually make us weigh nothing? Of course not. Why? Because our set-point automatically regulates our weight. But if that is true, then how can a small decrease in calorie intake help us avoid weight gain?

It can’t.

The issue is not that our body wants us to weigh less, but that too many calories per day are blocking it. The issue is that our body does not want us to weigh less thanks to our elevated set-point. The same mechanism preventing “small decreases in calorie intake” from making you weigh nothing also prevents it from effectively causing your body to burn off excess fat right now.

A more promising approach is to unclog and to lower your set-point. And you can do that easily by eating more high-quality calories. Remember, studies on 118,801 people show:

  1. Eating more correlates with less body fat
  2. Higher-quality food correlates with less body fat

If you can escape the trap of old calorie quantity myths, you will never have to worry about your weight again.

Coming up next on let’s explore how to increase the quality of your calories, lower your set-point, and get your body burning fat for you.


  1. Friedman JM. A war on obesity, not the obese. Science. 2003 Feb7;299(5608):856-8. PubMed PMID: 12574619.
  2. http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publications/DietaryGuidelines/2010/PolicyDoc/Chapter2.pdf
  3. http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publications/DietaryGuidelines/2010/PolicyDoc/Chapter2.pdf
  4. http://www.health.gov/DietaryGuidelines/dga2005/document/html/chapter3.htm
  5. McCullough ML, Feskanich D, Rimm EB, Giovannucci EL, Ascherio A, Variyam JN, Spiegelman D, Stampfer MJ, Willett WC. Adherence to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and risk of major chronic disease in men. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Nov;72(5):1223-31. PubMed PMID: 11063453.