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Is Orange Juice Slowly Killing You? (Yes/No)

Orange juice….  Isn’t that just… you know… as bad as pop?

Is your Orange Juice slowly killing you?

It does contain fructose, and fructose has been shown to act differently in the body than glucose… but does that make it bad? Especially when found in fruit and fruit juice? AND especially when fruit sugars ARE NOT 100% Fructose! (A Large orange may contain 17 grams of sugar, but only 4.5 grams of that is fructose)

Yes, in isolation and in high amounts of fructose is ‘bad’,  however what about fruit juice?

A 2000 study published in ‘The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition’ found that men and women with high LDL, or ‘bad’, cholesterol levels could significantly increase their HDL, or ‘good’, cholesterol levels by drinking 750 millilitres of orange juice daily. This seems like a good thing.

Fruit and Fruit juices also contains antioxidants that can protect your body against oxidant damage.

Here’s an interested study…

When four groups of normal-weight people were given a 300-cal drink of either

* 75 grams of glucose,

* 75 grams of fructose,

* orange juice, or

* water

There was a significant increase in measurements of Reactive Oxygen Species (Free radicals) in the people who drank the glucose drink, but not the fructose, orange juice, or water groups.

The glucose increased oxidant stress, the fructose and orange juice did not… another small win for Orange juice.

So far, this seems promising…

However, there are MANY studies linking sugar-sweetened beverages to obesity…  We can’t ignore this fact.

People in studies who gained weight or who were already overweight tended to drink more sugar-sweetened beverages than those who did not gain weight or who were ‘not overweight’ by scientific standards. This seems like a major black mark on orange juice, however, ‘sugar-sweetened beverages’ includes EVERYTHING that is a beverage and sweetened. This includes Pop, Iced-tea, orange juice, Kool-aid… A good old fashioned, everything.

Admittedly, not all fruit juices are equal, some have added sugar, some may have many of their polyphenols ruined in processing (I’m looking into this now), but to compare fruit juice directly to fructose sweetened water is inaccurate, especially since there seems to be some health benefits associated with drinking fruit juice.

But the real benefit, the reason I have chosen to include fruit juice and more fruits in general into my diet is because of the powerful affect they have on endotoxins.

In fact, my latest book, available to you as a pre-release is all about Endotoxins, their role in heath and obesity, and how fruit and fruit juices can help.

You can check out the whole story here —> Good Belly Bad Belly

The Biggest Loser Study

Let’s talk about that ‘Biggest Loser Study’ everyone is talking about…

But we’re going to save some time and cut right to the chase.

All this study showed me was that you can’t out metabolism a bad diet.


Let’s start at the beginning, when these people had a measured resting metabolic of over 2,600!!!

That is an enormous amount of calories being expended at rest.

As an example, my resting metabolic rate is around 1,700. My good friend John Barban, who is 2 inches taller than me and carries around 15-20 pounds of more lean muscle then me has a resting metabolic rate of 1,850.

These people had a resting metabolic rate of 2,600…. almost 1,000 calories higher than mine!!

They also had almost 50% body fat at a weight of well over 300 pounds.

This was their supposed baseline… but I just don’t see how any sane scientist could call these numbers ‘baseline’ or ‘normal’

To me, they are obviously elevated. A state of hypermetabolism – I don’t know how else to say it, but these people were not well and it showed in their resting metabolic rate measurements.

At the end of 30 weeks of competition, they had lost more than 100 pounds (averaging more than 4 pounds per week of loss!!!)

They also lost almost 25 pounds of Lean body mass!

And their metabolic rate was measured at right around 2,000 calories (still much, much higher than mine)

THEN 6 years later these people had gained back over 12 pounds of lean body mass and (unfortunately) almost 80 pounds of fat.

Their resting metabolic rate was STILL around 1,900.

Still higher than most people.

The bottom line is In 6 years they gained back much of their weight, in spite of having a high metabolism.

YES the researchers in this study did use equations to guess at a predicted metabolic rate that was almost 500 calories higher… That’s what all the hoopla is about

These people’s high metabolisms weren’t as high as the scientists think they should have been based on they predictions?!?!.

That’s what the media is latching on to.

But I see something much different… they gained a lot of weight despite having a metabolism that is MUCH HIGHER than the average person.

So yes, there is a relationship between your metabolic rate and your ability to lose weight and your ability to keep the weight off… but don’t let the media fool you, these people weren’t suffering from a metabolic rate of zero… they just had a metabolic rate lower than this particular group of scientists expected (mind you it was higher than other equations would have predicted).

…There was much more going on with their physiology then just their metabolic rates.

In fact the most interesting part of the study was the wild fluctuations in Leptin that occurred in these groups while they were losing weight, which gels really well with what my friend John says in his program called The Venus Factor. Just another piece of the puzzle… a puzzle that obviously includes many unmeasured lifestyle factors.

In the end I want you to know that you can lose weight despite what your metabolism is or isn’t, and maintaining that weight loss takes significant adaptations to your lifestyle… In my opinion Eat Stop Eat is one of those adaptations – something many people have used successfully to maintain weight loss for years.

What Causes Sudden and Rapid Weight Gain

On my desk I have a printed document that is over 400 pages long.

It’s a list of emails from Eat Stop Eat customers addressing their experiences with their weight, and specifically asking what does being ‘weight stable’ mean to them.

That was back in 2011.

I kept this document to remind me of one thing: For many people weight gain was related to an event.

Now I’m not talking about slowly gaining 10 to 20 pounds over decades – I’m talking about the phenomena of people who were weight stable (keeping their weight within a 10 pound range for decades) suddenly gaining 20-50 pounds and more over a couple of months, and how this seems to always have to do with a period of high stress.

Bad job, bad relationship, poor health of family member etc.

And before you go thinking that this is just an example of people trying to pass the responsibility of their weight on to something other than themselves, let me tell you that what we know about the science of physiology and hunger supports what they are saying.

Yes, they all knew they were eating too much, but at that point in their lives, they didn’t care – food made them feel better… at least momentarily.

Stress and anxiety can do horrible things to your body, thingst that manifest differenly in different people…

…And for some people it manifests in eating and weight gain.

A big problem arises when these same people try to lose weight while the stress is still present.

It’s a horrible feeling when life is hard, eating makes you happy and depriving yourself makes you miserable again, but thinking of yourself as ‘fat’ also makes you miserable too!

(Interestingly when the stress levels get high enough, the opposite actually occurs and people experience uncontrollable weight loss)

Here’s what this means to you —> Sometimes you have to remove the stress in your life before you can remove the weight. This isn’t true for everyone, but if you’re silently nodding your head right now, it may be you.

Losing weight isn’t easy, it can be stressful, and adding stress on top of already existing stress rarely gives the results you want.

If you’ve struggled with weight loss, and feel like your constantly fighting against gaining weight (as opposed to simply not losing), then take some time and look at your life and see if there is an underlying stress that is sabotaging your effort, then see what dealing with that stress can do for you.

Sometimes, adding MORE stress in the form of dieting and exercising actually is NOT the answer.

Alcohol and Fat Loss

I’m picky when it comes to my alcohol. I’m not a big drinker, but I have my favorites.

If I’m drinking beer I’m drinking Guinness, unless it’s crazy hot out, and then I’m drinking Banks.

If I’m not drinking beer I’m drinking Scotch or Rum.

(I’m a fun combination of Scottish-Irish-Canadian roots and Bajan roots)

I appreciate these drinks, but I’m not going to kid myself – I know that they don’t help with my fat loss goals.

Here is the simple truth – Your body has a priority system when dealing with fuel sources, and at the top of the list is alcohol.

If you have alcohol in your body, it will be burned first*.

(*Technically it gets transformed to acetate and then burned, but for simplicity’s sake we’ll call this burning alcohol)

Also, if you have a big night of drinking and then you go to sleep, your nighttime Growth Hormone levels will be significantly lower than if you had not been drinking.

Why? Because GH is primarily responsible for releasing fat from your body fat stores. Which is a big part of how you lose fat at night.

Typically, when you go to sleep, your GH increases, you release fat, then you burn fat, it’s a beautiful system. You truly are burning fat while doing nothing.

But when you go to sleep drunk, your body has other priorities. It needs to oxidize (burn) the alcohol in your body… So it doesn’t release GH, because it doesn’t need fat to be released (It already has a fuel source).

The bottom line is you sober up while you sleep by burning alcohol as a fuel source, instead of fat.

You can drink while trying to lose weight, just remember that the alcohol you take in (about 10-15 grams per drink) must be dealt with, and it will get dealt with as a priority.

Keep it moderate while trying to lose weight, and sadly – no drinking booze while you are fasting.

BCAAs during your fast

Today, I want clear up some confusion about protein, branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) and fasting.

First, my opinion on protein is that frequency trumps amount…

So I’d rather see you eat between 15-30 grams (depending on your size) of protein every 4-8 hours, than see you have 100 grams of protein once per day. When it comes to protein I believe that consistency is key.

However, I also want you to take a break from this protein-dosing schedule at least once a week… which is why for MOST people I don’t think you need BCAAs during your fast.

When you fast, you DO break down some protein. HOWEVER this is not all muscle AND it is a very important part of the health benefits of fasting.

When fasting, it is the ‘bad’ proteins – the damaged, or weak ones, that are broken down first and then recycled into new proteins. So the small amount of protein breakdown that occurs during a fast is part of how your body improves the proteins in your body – it gets rid of the weak and broken ones first.

This is why for people who are overweight and have typically been in a constant state of protein surplus, I think that a true 24 hour fast is ideal.

However, once your start to become noticeably lean I think it is OK to experiment with taking some BCAAs during your fast.

So that’s the more complete version of my view on BCAAs and protein during a fast.

How to hack Eat Stop Eat

Today I want to start a series of posts covering some of my more personalized approaches to Eat Stop Eat.

Hopefully this will clear up some questions you may have.

Today, lets talk about Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) during a fast.

People ask me about this a lot – can they, or should they take BCAAs during their fasts as a way to prevent muscle loss or even accelerate muscle growth.

And my answer is (as always)…. it depends.

Muscle loss is NOT a major issue with a 24 hour fast. However, those at most risk would be people with very low body fat who are active.

So my solution is this:

Look in the mirror – are you ‘lean’ by your standards, and would you say you have ‘lower than average body fat’. If yes, measure your waist.

Guys: If your waist circumference at your navel is under 46.5% of your height then you can consider taking BCAAs during your fast. I wouldn’t do more than 8 grams unless you are over 200 pounds (and lean), and I would only take them once every 6-8 hours.

Women: If your waist circumference at its narrowest point just below your rib cage is under 41.5% of your height then you can consider taking BCAAs during your fast. I wouldn’t do more than 5 grams unless you are over 150 pounds (and lean) and I would only take them once every 6-8 hours.

I’m still not sure how much of a difference they would make, but this would be the ideal time to try them out.

Now, if you are NOT lean, then I would NOT recommend BCAAs… ESPECIALLY if you have a large amount of weight to lose.

Here’s why – When you fast you activate a compound in your body called FGF-21 and FGF-21 has recently been found to improve Leptin sensivitiy.

People who are very overweight often have reduced leptin sensitivity which seems to hurt their ability to lose weight… so it makes sense that improving leptin sensitivity is just one of the ways that fasting can help people lose weight.

However, FGF-21 is highly sensitive to protein – it is fasting from protein (including BCAAs) that is needed for a rise in FGF-21.

So the BCAAs might interfere with the way a fast can improve Leptin Sensitivity… NOT COOL if you are overweight and really struggling with weight loss.

Also, even low doses of BCAAs can cause a spike in insulin levels, this is probably not an issue for someone who is lean with good insulin sensitivity (your insulin would go back down quickly), but for someone who is even slightly insulin resistant, your insulin levels could stay elevated long enough to affect your GH levels, which would affect your ability to burn body fat.

So there you have it. A quick Eat Stop Eat ‘hack’ – if you are really lean and active and fasting, you could try BCAAs and see if they help, but if you have a lot of weight t lose (waist circumference is over 55% of your height) then I would avoid trying BCAAs until you have lost some more weight.

Insulin is only HALF the story

Insulin has a bad reputation in the weight loss industry.

Basically, to most people high insulin means fat storage and low insulin means fat loss.

Unfortunately it’s not exactly this easy.

Low insulin doesn’t mean fat loss. High Growth Hormone means fat loss.

Actually, for the full fat burning effect, you need BOTH low insulin and high Growth Hormone, which is exactly what happens during a fast.

…but you absolutely, positively cannot talk about fat loss without talking about Growth Hormone (GH for short). In fact, I’d go as far as to say that any book that explores the science of fat loss without mentioning Growth Hormone is incomplete.

Just how important is GH to your fat loss goals?

Consider this:

When you fast, it is the increase in GH that is responsible for forcing you to burn fat for a fuel instead of sugar or protein. When your GH release is chemically blocked, your fat burning drops and your muscle breakdown increases by almost 50% – And that’s WITH your insulin still being rock bottom low.

So you need high GH for effective fat burning and effective muscle sparing. Which is what makes fasting so unique. – it’s why you lose fat when you fast and why you don’t lose muscle.

It’s also why your metabolism doesn’t slow down while you fast.

The bottom line is that high GH is needed for effective fat loss, and fasting for as little as 24 hours is one of the most potent signals for high GH available without a prescription

Venus Factor: Ideal Body Measurements for Women

Сontents: Venus Formula | Example of Calculation | Venus Waist Ratios |Guide to Getting Your Venus Body


Women often wonder what their “healthy weight” or their “ideal weight” is, and those are hard questions to answer. Suggesting “ideal measurements” can be very touchy for females.

In order to determine what your ideal body measurements should be, we first must determine the amount of lean body mass (LBM) your body frame can support.

Lean body mass is “good weight,” and includes things like muscles, bones, and organs. Anything inside your body that isn’t fat counts as lean body mass. Lean body mass can be calculated pretty accurately using some equations. (If you’re familiar with the Venus Factor, this equation is similar to the “rule of sevens.”)

The Venus Factor Equation for women is as follows:


C x H3

“H” is your height, measured in meters.

“C” is a coefficient that is adjusted for age.


For women age 35-54, the range associated with the highest degree of lean body mass, C = 10.

Women are very different from men in this area. Men reach their potential for maximum muscle between ages 18 and 25, however, women don’t reach this phase until about age 45.

Here are the age ranges for the coefficient C in our equation:

18-24 = 9.6

25-34 = 9.8

35-54 = 10

55+ = 9.8

(Standard deviation is 0.5)

Example of calculation

For a 5’6” woman who is 36 years old, the equation would work out as follows:

LBM = 10 x 1.67643

LBM = 10 x 4.711

LBM = 47.11 KG



The average lean body mass goal for a 36-year-old woman who is 5’6” tall would be approximately 104 pounds.

We use the standard deviation figure of 0.5 to determine an appropriate range. Two standard deviations to the right or left of the average will calculate the range that 95% of the population is likely to fall into.

In this case the range would be between:

9 x 4.711 and 11 x 4.711


94 to 114 pounds


So a 5’6” woman who is 36 years old should have a lean body mass that would fall somewhere in this range.


***REMEMBER: This equation is for LEAN body mass, not TOTAL body mass.***


The idea of the Venus Factor program is to create an ideal look with a well-proportioned body. The numbers above are important in developing this.

For men, a high amount of muscle mass usually indicates “youth,” because men around age 25 usually have the highest amounts of lean body mass.

A high amount of muscle mass can cause a woman to look older, since the highest amounts of lean body mass are usually found in women who are age 45 and older. The Venus Factor seeks to find the “ideal” muscle mass for females, not the “maximum” muscle mass.

The ideal amount is usually somewhere in the range mentioned above. While it is possible for a woman to build more muscle than the equation suggests, it may not be desirable for a woman to do that.

So how does a woman determine what is ideal for her body? In the Venus Factor, we calculate this based on your body circumference – your waist and shoulder measurements.


***Don’t Miss this Important Information****


Please note that we do not measure a woman’s waist at her navel. Many females think this is where they should measure, but this is not correct. In females, the natural waist line is the smallest point on the torso above the navel. For most women, this falls right under the rib cage.

Most women appear to be at their “ideal” weight and measurements when their waist circumference is approximately 38% of their height. If a female drops to 35% of her height, she tends to look too skinny. If she goes much higher than 43% of her height, her body fat will begin to mask her natural shape.

For both men and women, when the waist circumference is more than 50% of height, the extra body fat can become hazardous to your health

38% = Our Ideal

35 – 43% = Good range

Under 35% = May be lacking lean body mass. Slightly increase calories/decrease activity level.

Over 43% = May be carrying more fat than you need. Assess eating and exercise habits.

Over 50% = More body fat than you need. Long term health risks.


We have learned that the Venus Factor provides an attainable ideal for anyone. The idea of fitness and health should not be to get lean at all costs.


Some ideals set by society are unrealistic and unattainable. Barbie’s waist circumference, for example, is 25% of her height, which, as we have calculated, is not ideal.

Aside from obtaining your waist measurement, it is also important to get your shoulder measurement. If you measure around your shoulders at armpit level, you should be able to get a good indication of your overall muscle mass without allowing your breast size to interfere with the calculation.

A shoulder measurement that is about 62% of your height indicates a good “toned” look for a female. This percentage should prevent a female from looking too masculine or from looking older – or, in the opposite case, from looking too thin. Following the shoulder circumference percentage recommendation allows for a healthy look.

Note: When a female has less than 25% body fat, a decrease of more than an inch in shoulder circumference should be seen as a sign to slightly increase your calorie intake.


Guide to Getting Your Venus Body

If you can get past the technical terms in what I have written, you will see that I am offering an excellent set of guidelines for women who are trying to lose weight. The equations give you a definite goal.

For example, a body fat percentage of around 20% of the weight of the 5’6” woman we discussed earlier will fall around 120 to 140 pounds, with possible deviations of 4 to 5 pounds in either direction.(It should be noted that 20% body fat is considered “very lean,” and that might be leaner than you need to be. I am only using that as an example.)

A target goal weight of 120-140 pounds is a pretty large range, but this allows us to more easily set a goal for ourselves, rather than picking a specific number based on the weight of this co-worker or that celebrity.

Our calculations will tell us that a 5’6” woman will weigh between 120 and 140 pounds if she has a waist that measures around 25 inches and a shoulder circumference of around 41 inches. We also know, based on our calculations, that she will probably have between 95 and 105 pounds of lean body mass and 25-35 pounds of fat mass.

When you have determined a good baseline weight range, you can use calculations to determine how much we should be training and eating.


If your weight, waist, and shoulders are below the guidelines, you should eat a little more and focus on weight training. You might think you still need to lose fat, but you won’t have an accurate view of yourself until you build some muscle on to your frame. Your muscle structure is what determines your shape.

If you don’t have muscles, you have no shape. You should only eat a little bit more, with the goal of bringing up your weight and shoulder measurements while slowly increasing your waist circumference.

Remember to go slowly, and remember that this is not a good time to diet, fast, or do excessive cardio. If you are fasting, fast over one 24-hour period per week at the most. “Bulking,” for women, can cause an increase in testosterone and leptin, so be sure to go slowly.


If your weight, waist, and shoulders are within the ideal ranges, then you should focus on making small changes in your diet and exercise routines. There is no need to make major changes. The scale probably won’t tell you much about what’s going on inside your body. You will be better off concentrating on your measurements.

If you’re in the ideal range, you should be eating as much as you want without gaining fat by using the perfect blend of exercise and diet you’ve been using. If you have been fasting, you can continue to do so once or twice a week.


If your weight is in the high range, and if your waist is above 43%, or especially above 50%, of your height, then you need to consider changing your diet to get your waist into the proper range. You could probably fast twice a week if you want to, and you probably need to consider reducing your calorie intake on the days you are not fasting.

You may need to drastically reduce your calorie intake initially, but you can increase it as you begin to lose weight. Focus on your waist circumference. Each inch that comes off your waist should reflect approximately a 5 pound loss in body weight.


It’s not easy to determine how much you should eat, but it’s much easier to manage your diet when you let your own body measurements guide you rather than aiming for a random calculation. The calculations we use only provide “best guesses.” If you want a very accurate determination of your fat mass and your lean body mass, you could have a DEXA done. But please remember the following:


A scale cannot tell a woman how much she should eat or workout.

Knowledge of your weight can give you a good starting point, but it won’t tell you where you should end up or how far you’re coming along. Your measurements, on the other hand, can show you how far you have come. Having a general idea of the ideal weight range for your height, combined with the measurements of your waist and shoulders, should provide you with good guidelines for shaping your body.

A body-first approach will lead to better results than a calories-first approach. Entering numbers on an online calculator, not taking into consideration your height or your body measurements, will not give you an accurate portrayal of how many calories you should be eating, and it won’t give you the results you want to see.

Instead, focus on what is possible for your body, with the goal of improving your overall shape. Compare your current measurements with your ideal ranges. From there, develop your diet and exercise program. Once you become lean, you can use your calculations as a guide to help you stay lean.

What if you are gaining weight, but your waist measurements are staying the same? That probably means you’re gaining muscle weight. But if you gain weight while your waist measurements consistently reach higher and higher, you’re probably adding body fat.

There is no way to determine what is actually going on inside your body, but these simple calculations – which go along with the idea of the Venus Factor – can help guide you through your attempts to either lose fat, gain muscle, or maintain your body shape.


If you want to learn more on how to get a well proportioned feminine physique, then check out this video




Muscle Growth at all Costs?

Let me state the obvious: All human bodies look roughly the same.

One can easily tell the difference between, say, a human, a gorilla, and a hippopotamus.

A description of a human male could easily be summed up by saying that they are usually about 5’10” tall, with approximately 148 pounds of lean mass. Their weight can vary greatly due to their ability to store energy in the form of fat mass.

A more detailed summary of a human male would explain that their height has a standard deviation of about three inches, meaning that 95 percent of all men are somewhere between 5’4” and 6’4” tall.

Their lean muscle mass also has a standard deviation of about seven pounds, so an athletic healthy male could have about 14 pounds more lean mass than average, and a sickly man could weigh about 14 pounds less than average before he is considered to be in a disease state.

Only about 2.5 percent of the population is comprised of “anomalies” – rare cases in which a person has much more muscle than everyone else or is much taller than the average.

You and I are fairly limited in how much muscle we can add to our bodies. We are, after all, only human beings, with checks and balances everywhere in our bodies. And this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

The next time you hear about an exercise program which claims to be able to “add 60 pounds of muscle in six weeks,” consider this: Many things which cause your muscles to grow beyond their normal limits are connected to higher than average rates of cancer.

Chronic high testosterone, chronic high insulin, chronic high growth hormone, and chronic high IGF-1 – all are connected to an increase risk of cancer.

Remember, you’re only human. Be happy with the shape of your body. Make it your goal to increase muscle mass and decrease fat mass, but keep your expectations realistic.

I have found that an adult male can expect to gain about 14 pounds of muscle through strength training. Females can expect to gain about six pounds of muscle with the same technique. After that point, muscle growth slows considerably.

You can obtain more muscle with pharmaceutical supplements, but you should be aware of the fact that there could be long-term health side effects as a result of doing so.

You can gain more muscle without supplements, but you should expect progress to be slow and growth to be limited.

Remember to eat less and move more. Try to build muscle while you keep your body fat low, but remember that you’re human. Unless you are about 6’10” tall, you’re probably never going to reach 250 pounds with five percent body fat.

The Real Truth about your Metabolism and Weight Loss


If you listen to what some experts have to say, you’d think your metabolic rate is the end all be all of health and weight loss. However, just like everything else the truth is a lot more boring than you’d think.

Your metabolic rate is simply the amount of calories you burn on a daily basis to support the regular functioning of your body. There are different ways to measure it but the most common and the one that is most applicable for you is called your Resting Metabolic Rate or RMR for short.

Your RMR is the amount of calories you burn just sitting around relaxing and not exercising. This doesn’t include walking or moving around or working out, it doesn’t even include fidgeting. It’s just the amount of energy you burn up sitting around doing nothing. Unfortunately for many people this describes their activities every day.

So how do you calculate your RMR?

Well we can’t calculate it exactly without multiple trips to a scientific lab, so the best we can do is an estimate (and scientists are still just learning what average resting metabolic rates might even be).

Let me repeat that, the best we can do is ESTIMATE your RMR. Any metabolic rate calculator you find online is just an estimate, and many of them are way off and in need of a serious update.

In research done by Amanda C et al in 2010 the RMR of 47 women was measured and compared it to the popular RMR estimator equations. The average RMR for this group of women was 1027 calories per day. The average height of the group was 5’5.

Interestingly the predictive equations all overestimated RMR, and the worst one (harris benedict) overestimated by 700 calories! It’s tough to hear it, but we all just need to eat way less calories than we’ve been led to believe.

One of the major areas where popular online metabolic rate/calorie burn calculators breakdown is when they add in their ‘activity factor’ calculation. Most of these calculators overestimate the amount of calories we can burn from activity.

This is because the research they are basing their equations on is very old and outdated. These outdated activity factor equations were done on people who were much more active than we are today (think full time lumberjacks).

METABOLIC RATE – Getting rid of some erroneous Myths

You’ve probably been led to believe that lean people have high metabolism, and that most overweight people have slow metabolism. Turns out this is a major false assumption. It’s just flat out wrong.

In further research done by Ravussin et al in 1982 it was shown clearly that the obese people actually had higher resting metabolic rates than the lean control group.

The average metabolic rate of the obese people was measured at approximately 1800 calories per day as compared to 1450 calories per day for the normal weight control group (and the obese group was actually shorter on average than the controls so we would guess based on height that their metabolic rate should have been lower if all other things were equal).

The difference in metabolic rate was because the obese people actually had an average of 30lbs more total Fat Free body Mass than the lean people. This doesn’t mean they had 30lbs more ‘muscle mass’, but rather more of everything including organ mass, bone mass, and residual tissue mass (of which a small amount might have been muscle tissue).

This leads perfectly into another false assumption about your metabolic rate – that your muscles are the biggest contributors to how many calories you burn in a day.

It turns out that out of all these tissues the ones that contribute the greatest proportion to your metabolic rate are your internal organs.

Research by Muller et al, In 2011 shows that not only do your internal organs contribute the largest portion to your metabolic rate but that they scale to the height of your body and to the overall size of your body. In other words, the taller you are and the bigger you are the bigger your internal organs are and thus the more calories they burn.

The following is a list of the relative amount of energy each tissue contributes to your daily metabolic rate per poundof each tissue (data from Bosy-Westphal et al 2009):

Heart = 200 cals/lbs

Kidney = 200 cals/lbs

Brain = 110 cals/lbs

Liver = 90 cals/lbs

Muscle = 6 cals/lbs

Fat = 2 cals/lbs

Bone = 1 cals/lbs

As you can see from this data, your heart, kidneys, liver and brain are the most highly metabolically active tissues in your body and as you will find out they actually contribute the most to your metabolic rate. Muscle is actually much closer to fat when it’s at rest, it really doesn’t burn many calorie when you’re not working out.

Research by Heymsfield et al. in 2002 indicates that approximately 69% of your resting metabolic rate comes from your internal organs (specifically the combination of your heart, liver, kidneys, and brain). The other 31% comes from your bones, muscle, and fat tissue.

I’m presenting this research to show you that striving to add extra muscle isn’t going to increase your resting metabolic enough to change how many calories you can eat to lose weight. I’m also showing you that your metabolic rate is likely lower than you were lead to believe.

There is one final false assumption we have to discuss and that’s the effect of exercise on your metabolic rate. Now, let me say right here that exercise is one of the best ways to control how many calories you burn in any given day.

There are hundreds of research papers and dozens of textbooks on this topic. There are also dozens of metabolic rate calculators online and equations in textbooks that will suggest an ‘activity factor’ that suggest you can burn anywhere from 500 to 2000 extra calories per day just by being active.

In all cases these are best guesses, and I’d say rather optimistic guesses in many cases… you’ve got to be super mega active to actually burn 2000 extra calories in a day! For example if you weighed approximately 175lbs you would need walk for approximately 6 hours to burn 2000 calories.

Or you would need to do approximately 3 and half hours if high intensity interval training. In both cases I’m pretty sure you already shaking your head thinking ‘no way’. And you would be right. This would be total insanity to attempt to burn 2000 calories in a day. Heck even 1000 extra calories would take hours and hours of exercise.

In fact, we cross referenced the actual measured true calorie burn for various activities and exercise from scientific research and compared it to what most metabolic rate and activity calculators suggest.

What we found out was that most calculators grossly overestimate daily calorie burn for most people. This is because the metabolic rate calculators are assuming that an ‘active’ person is doing MULTIPLE hours of activity EVERY DAY, not just a 45 minute workouts 2-3 times per week.

The truth is that most of us don’t even do 1 hour of vigorous activity per day let alone multiple hours. In most cases the only excess calories we will burn in any given day is due to a scheduled workout…and if you don’t even do that, well you are sedentary plain and simple.

If you sit at a desk all day, and do little or no exercise then you are sedentary by any definition. This means that you should click the ‘sedentary’ option every time you attempt to use any online metabolic rate calculator.