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Old 09-11-2009, 11:45 AM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2008
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frugaleater HB User
Too few calories=weight gain?

I've wathched the TV show, "The Biggest Loser" many times and have heard it mentioned that the body retains fat more if you don't get enough calories. Is this true?

I ask because my dad just went for a checkup and they said his blood sugar is a little high and suggested he lose about 15 pounds. He said he doesn't eat much: Just a bowl of cereal in the morning for breakfast, a reasonable supper, and maybe another bowl of cereal at night. I'm surprised he eats so little! Plus, he goes for 2 mile walks sometimes, and also mows his lawn with a walk-behind mower. He has a sizable yard too. So why isn't he losing weight already? My only guess is that he's taking in too few calories, but that's just my guess.

Old 09-11-2009, 06:17 PM   #2
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tjlhb HB Usertjlhb HB Usertjlhb HB Usertjlhb HB Usertjlhb HB User
Re: Too few calories=weight gain?

How big is the bowl of cereal, and how big is the supper and what is in it? Also, does he drink sweet or alcoholic beverages? Liquid calories can add up quickly.

Note that most dry cereals have a lot of sugar and fast digesting carbohydrates, which may not be great for someone at risk of diabetes. Among cereals, plain oatmeal tends to be slower digesting carbohydrates than most dry cereals. Balancing the cereal meals with vegetables / whole fruits, proteins, and good fats instead of just having cereal may also help.

How often does he walk or mow the lawn? He might not be getting that much exercise if these activities are infrequent. Increasing exercise typically improves insulin sensitivity, which helps bring / keep blood sugar under control.

Also, weight alone may not be the best measure of progress, since it is excess body fat that increases health risks for most people. People who start or increase exercise may gain muscle, which can make them heavier or mask loss of body fat when they look at the weight scale.

Last edited by tjlhb; 09-11-2009 at 06:18 PM.

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Old 09-12-2009, 10:35 AM   #3
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: USA
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frugaleater HB User
Re: Too few calories=weight gain?

Well, his cereal bowl isn't a big one; just average size. As for cereal, he eats Cheerios or Maltomeal puffed rice. These are supposed to be healthy. He also includes a bannana with these. When he drinks pop, it's diet. No alcohol at all. He also drinks alot of orange juice, mostly with breakfast.

I think he goes for his walks quite a bit. He does it at the local park. He wonders why he's not losing any weight doing this.

Last edited by hb-mod; 09-12-2009 at 11:04 AM. Reason: Removed quote of the immediately preceding post. Please use Quick Reply instead of Quote Reply. Thanks.

Old 09-12-2009, 08:01 PM   #4
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tjlhb HB Usertjlhb HB Usertjlhb HB Usertjlhb HB Usertjlhb HB User
Re: Too few calories=weight gain?

While unsweetened original style Cheerios or puffed rice is better than a lot of cereals, such cereals are still fast digesting carbohydrates. Bananas are a whole fruit, but one which is relatively fast digesting compared to others like apples, oranges, and berries. And juice concentrates sugar and calories while having much less fiber than the whole fruit, making for more fast digesting carbohydrates.

Basically the cereal + banana + juice meals are almost like sugar shots, so that might not be good for blood sugar. The juice may account for a lot of calories that he may not notice that he is consuming. It may be healthier to use plain oatmeal for the cereal, vary the whole fruits, omit the juice, and add some non-carbohydrate food as well (e.g. egg, nuts, nut butter).

The supper which is not described might also have more calories than he thinks it does.

As far as walking for exercise goes, an approximation of the number of calories burned would be to take his weight, multiply by 2/3, and multiply by number of miles walked. Running is similar, except that you cover many more miles and thus burn many more calories within a given time period compared to walking.

Last edited by tjlhb; 09-12-2009 at 08:07 PM.

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