The Calories Expert: Health Experts Are Wrong About Calories & Diet Coke! Layne Norton

The Calories Expert: Health Experts Are Wrong About Calories & Diet Coke! Layne Norton
  • People often miscalculate their calorie intake due to inaccurate portion sizes.
  • Artificial sweeteners like Diet Coke can aid in weight loss when replacing regular soda, but not when compared to water.
  • Studies show that intermittent fasting groups tend to lose more weight, but this is not due to any magical properties of intermittent fasting.
  • Layne Norton's influence in the health and nutrition space is considered positive as he debunks fitness and nutrition myths.
  • Sugar addiction is a controversial topic, but Layne Norton believes it is a real phenomenon.

Making Fitness Accessible to Everyone (00:02:40)

  • Layne Norton, a fitness expert with a PhD in nutritional sciences, aims to make fitness information accessible to everyone and bridge the gap between academic research and the general public.
  • Norton's personal experience of being bullied as a child motivated him to pursue fitness and bodybuilding, leading him to share free diet and nutrition advice on bodybuilding message boards.
  • By 2005, he was earning a full-time income from his online coaching services.
  • Norton's mission is shaped by his early experiences with bullying and his desire to help others and provide accurate fitness information.
  • Norton discusses his personal struggles with PTSD, its impact on his relationships and self-trust, and the link between obesity and trauma, suggesting that binge eating can be a coping mechanism for dealing with uncomfortable feelings.
  • He emphasizes the importance of mindfulness and self-awareness in managing trauma responses and unhealthy behaviors.
  • Norton acknowledges his own struggles with social media addiction and the challenges of staying mindful in the face of constant distractions.

My Bullying Experiences Is My Driver to Help People (00:13:22)

  • Empathy and accountability are crucial in coaching.
  • Without empathy, people may not be honest or motivated to change.
  • Without accountability, there is no impetus for change.
  • Both empathy and accountability are necessary for effective coaching.

How to Overcome Our Food Addiction (00:16:15)

  • Binge eating is often a result of autopilot behavior.
  • To overcome food addiction, it is important to increase mindfulness and create barriers to prevent mindless eating.
  • Naming the urge to binge can help to stop it.
  • Monitoring behavior can help to change it.

How to Build Motivation and Discipline (00:17:26)

  • The psychology of exercise and weight loss is crucial for long-term success.
  • Ethan Suplee's analogy of "getting out of the house when it's on fire" emphasizes taking action rather than overanalyzing.
  • Successful weight loss maintainers develop a new identity and reverse engineer their habits to align with their goals.
  • Motivation provides a quick boost, but discipline sustains progress.
  • Detaching feelings from the process and adopting a cold calculus approach can help overcome unmotivated periods.
  • Set small, achievable goals to avoid disappointment and discouragement.

Setting Big Goals Stop You from Achieving Them (00:24:09)

  • Setting huge goals can lead to failure and negative self-feelings.
  • Building confidence comes from keeping promises to yourself and consistently doing what you say you will do.
  • Start with small, achievable goals and gradually increase them as you build confidence.
  • Confidence is built through repetition and consistent effort, not by setting unrealistic expectations.

The Psychology of Taking Small Steps Really Work (00:26:50)

  • Small starting points for significant goals can feel inconsequential and shameful, discouraging people from taking action.
  • Clichés like "a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step" and "eat an elephant one bite at a time" emphasize the importance of taking small steps.
  • When climbing a mountain, focus on the next ledge rather than the summit to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
  • For individuals who need to lose a significant amount of weight, it's important to start with their current habits and behaviors.
  • Gradual changes, such as switching from regular soda to diet soda or finding ways to cut calories from their current diet, can be more achievable and sustainable.
  • The goal is to meet people where they are and gradually pull them towards healthier habits.

What Takes for a Person to Decide to Lose Weight or Go to the Gym? (00:28:59)

  • People who successfully change their lives often have a strong "why" or a compelling reason behind their decision to change.
  • Changing one's identity and social circle may be necessary when pursuing significant life changes, as old habits and relationships may hinder progress.
  • Self-awareness and recognizing the need for change are crucial in initiating and sustaining a transformation.
  • Visual reminders, such as changing the background on one's phone to an image representing one's goals, can provide psychological reinforcement and support in making positive choices.
  • Considering the people one cares about and wanting to make them proud can serve as a powerful motivator for personal change.
  • Renowned fitness expert Layne Norton shares his personal experiences and motivations for achieving success in bodybuilding competitions.
  • During the 2022 World Championships, Norton faced personal challenges but found inspiration and motivation by looking at pictures of his children and thinking about making his family proud.
  • Norton also draws inspiration from his grandfather, who was part of the "Greatest Generation" and possessed great humor and integrity. He considers his grandfather his personal hero and often reflects on his qualities when facing low motivation or setbacks.

Calories In/Calories Out (00:34:36)

  • Calories in refer to the food you eat.
  • Calories out refer to the energy your body uses.
  • BMR (basal metabolic rate) is the energy your body uses to keep functioning while at rest.
  • TEF (thermic effect of food) is the energy your body uses to digest and absorb food.
  • Protein has a higher TEF than carbohydrates or fat.

Calories In/Calories Out (00:34:36)

  • Calories in and calories out are not the same as counting calories.
  • Counting calories is like keeping a budget, while calories in/calories out is like the law that you have to earn more than you spend to save money.
  • Calories in refer to the potential energy contained in the chemical bonds of food.
  • Calories out include BMR, TEF, and physical activity.

Thermic Effect of Food (00:37:29)

  • The thermic effect of food (TEF) is the energy required to process food.
  • TEF varies depending on the macronutrient:
    • Fats: 0-3% TEF
    • Carbohydrates: 5-10% TEF
    • Protein: 20-30% TEF
  • Fiber has a higher TEF than other macronutrients.
  • TEF accounts for about 5-10% of daily energy expenditure.
  • NEAT refers to the small, unconscious movements made throughout the day.
  • NEAT is not consciously modifiable.
  • A 10% reduction in body weight can reduce NEAT by up to 400-500 calories per day.
  • People who are obese-prone tend to become less spontaneously active when they eat more food.

Metabolic Adaptation (00:41:25)

  • With a 10% body weight loss, there's a reduction in BMR beyond what would be expected (15%).
  • Example:
    • BMR: 2,000 calories
    • Total daily energy expenditure: 3,400 calories
    • 10% body weight loss: 2,700 calories per day (significant calorie deficit)
    • 15% drop in BMR: 300 calories
    • 400 calories drop in NEAT
    • Total deficit reduction: 700 calories (deficit becomes maintenance)
  • Metabolic adaptation is progressive over time.
  • Calorie deficit alone can't lead to indefinite weight loss without starvation.
  • Weight loss plateaus occur due to metabolic adaptation.
  • Hunger hormones increase during dieting.

Can You Lose Weight in Calorie Surplus? (00:43:38)

  • People who used to be obese have a lower total daily energy expenditure and higher hunger markers compared to those who were never obese.
  • Not all calories are the same, and their impact depends on individual factors like activity level and body composition.
  • Food labeling can have up to a 20% error, but it's generally accurate for large food companies.
  • Calorie counting can be simplified by consistently monitoring body weight to determine if a calorie deficit is achieved.
  • Weight fluctuations are normal and should not discourage individuals from tracking their progress.
  • Weigh yourself daily and take the average of those weights to track long-term weight loss or gain.
  • Tracking calories is not necessary for weight loss, but some form of restraint is required.
  • The best diet is the one that an individual can consistently follow, as consistency is the most important factor in weight loss.
  • A meta-analysis of 14 popular diets found that none were better than the others for long-term weight loss, but adherence to the diet was a key factor in weight loss success.

Artificial Sweetness (00:52:36)

  • Calorie surplus is essential for weight gain, and metabolic adaptation can lead to miscalculations in calorie intake and energy expenditure.
  • Obese subjects tend to under-report their calorie intake and over-report their physical activity, while even dietitians under-report their caloric intake in studies.
  • Inaccurate portion sizes and lack of weighing food contribute to underestimating calorie intake.
  • The advice to "eat less and move more" may not be effective due to discrepancies in calorie counting and activity tracking.
  • Consistent body weight monitoring is crucial for successful weight loss and maintenance, although it can be anxiety-provoking for some individuals.
  • Regular body weight monitoring is a common habit among individuals who successfully lose weight and keep it off.
  • Weight loss plateaus require reestablishing a calorie deficit through reduced calorie intake, increased physical activity, or a combination of both.

Is Sugar Addictive? (00:59:25)

  • Artificial sweeteners, particularly in Diet Coke, have been debated for their impact on weight loss and overall health.
  • Epidemiological studies suggest a correlation between artificial sweetener consumption and higher body weight, but this may be due to lifestyle behaviors rather than a causal effect.
  • Randomized controlled trials show significant weight loss in individuals who switched from regular soda to diet soda, indicating the effectiveness of artificial sweeteners for weight loss.
  • Contrary to popular belief, artificial sweeteners do not raise insulin levels. Studies involving sucralose showed no insulin increase, but when combined with carbohydrates, it led to higher insulin secretion compared to carbohydrates alone.
  • Maltodextrin has a higher glycemic index and causes a greater insulin response than sucrose or glucose.
  • Studies show that weight loss improves insulin sensitivity and HbA1c, not because of any magical properties of sweeteners.

Craving Sugar (01:05:43)

  • Sugar by itself does not appear to be addictive.
  • Foods that are hard to stop eating are usually a combination of sugar, fat, salt, and texture.
  • Sugar is not very satiating and lacks nutrients.
  • There is a study that supports the claim that there is no evidence for sugar addiction in humans.

How Sweeteners Affect Our Gut (01:07:38)

  • People may experience increased sugar cravings after consuming sugary foods.
  • This could be due to psychology and self-fulfilling beliefs about sugar addiction.
  • Sugary foods are often high in fat and have a pleasurable mouthfeel, which can contribute to overeating.
  • Sugar itself does not appear to be independently addictive, but it can be part of foods with addictive properties.

What Supplements Do You Recommend? (01:08:52)

  • Artificial sweeteners can aid in weight loss, but their effects on cancer, heart disease, and the gut microbiome are often misrepresented.
  • Studies on artificial sweeteners and cancer risk often show conflicting results due to confounding variables and the tendency to focus on negative news.
  • The human studies that suggest an increased cancer risk with artificial sweetener use typically show a small relative risk increase, which needs to be interpreted in the context of absolute risk.
  • A dose-response relationship is not consistently observed, which would be expected if artificial sweeteners were truly carcinogenic.
  • Some artificial sweeteners, such as sucrose, can alter the gut microbiome composition, but it's unclear whether these changes are beneficial or harmful.
  • Overall, the decision to consume artificial sweeteners should be made in the context of an individual's overall health and lifestyle, considering potential trade-offs and benefits.

Whey Protein (01:14:01)

  • Creatine monohydrate is recommended for everyone due to its numerous benefits, including performance, strength, body composition, and potentially cognitive improvements.
  • Creatine monohydrate is cheap, effective, and has been around for a long time, so any potential long-term effects would have been observed by now.
  • Creatine monohydrate saturates the muscle cell 100%, making other forms of creatine unnecessary.
  • Creatine works by bonding with a phosphate to produce creatine phosphate, which donates its phosphate to ADP to reform ATP, providing energy during exercise.
  • Creatine also pulls water into the cell, contributing to its body composition benefits and potentially improving muscle contractile properties.
  • The benefits of creatine monohydrate include a few pounds of lean mass gain, improved strength, and better performance during anaerobic exercise.

Caffeine (01:17:39)

  • Whey protein is a cheap and convenient way to get high-quality protein, especially for those who struggle to get enough protein from whole foods.
  • Whey protein concentrate may cause digestive issues for some people due to lactose intolerance, in which case whey isolate or hydrolysate can be used as alternatives.

Intermittent Fasting (01:18:44)

  • Caffeine is the original cognitive enhancer.
  • People perform better on cognitive tests and physical performance before 12 hours after consuming caffeine.
  • Caffeine may still affect sleep later in the day, even if consumed in the morning.
  • There are no solutions, only trade-offs.
  • Caffeine is probably a useful supplement for athletes and those who rely heavily on their brain power.
  • Try to stop caffeine intake nine hours before sleep to ensure the majority of it is out of the system.

Does Fasting Help When You're Ill? (01:19:52)

  • Intermittent fasting can help with weight loss because it places people in a calorie deficit.
  • Studies show that when calories are controlled, intermittent fasting and continuous eating result in similar weight loss.
  • Intermittent fasting does not have a significant advantage over continuous eating in terms of retaining lean mass or losing fat mass.
  • Myths about intermittent fasting and longevity are not supported by evidence.
  • Calorie restriction increases autophagy more than intermittent fasting.
  • Autophagy is a continuous process that breaks down old proteins and recycles amino acids.
  • Fasting does not increase autophagy more than eating the same amount of calories spread out over time.
  • During fasting, autophagy increases, but when eating during the eating window, autophagy decreases.
  • Continuous eating maintains a higher rate of autophagy compared to intermittent fasting when calories are equal.

Can You Lose Belly Fat? (01:24:00)

  • Intermittent fasting can increase autophagy if it places someone in a calorie deficit overall.
  • The rate of autophagy and fat oxidation is higher during fasting days but lower on eating days.
  • Continuous eating may have a higher rate of autophagy and fat oxidation.
  • In tightly controlled randomized control trials, there are no significant differences in weight loss or biomarkers of health between intermittent fasting and non-fasting groups when calories are equated.
  • Intermittent fasting may show lower fasting blood glucose levels due to longer fasting periods, but long-term markers of insulin sensitivity are typically similar when calories are equated.
  • Intermittent fasting can be a helpful tool for controlling calorie intake and losing weight for many people.

Is Exercise Useful for Weight Loss? (01:27:16)

  • Visceral and liver fat are more metabolically unhealthy than subcutaneous fat.
  • Losing subcutaneous fat will also lead to losing liver and visceral fat.
  • Focus on sustainable, long-term strategies for weight loss rather than quick fixes.
  • Exercise can specifically target liver and visceral fat, even without a calorie deficit.

Exercising Helps Having a Balanced Diet (01:30:16)

  • Exercise helps with weight loss in tightly controlled studies where calorie intake is the same.
  • The hunger response to exercise is complex, with both biochemical and psychological factors involved.
  • Exercise causes partial compensation, with the body reducing its BMR or becoming less spontaneously active, resulting in a net loss of about 72 calories for every 100 calories burned.
  • On average, exercise has a neutral or positive effect on appetite, with some individuals experiencing increased hunger and others having better appetite regulation.
  • Exercise helps with lean mass retention, which leads to higher energy expenditure and prevents weight regain.
  • The actual amount of calories burned during exercise is relatively small compared to food intake, but exercise improves appetite regulation and has positive psychological effects on eating habits.

Keto Diet (01:34:43)

  • The speaker mentions their personal experience and how going to the gym helps them control their diet.
  • The speaker discusses the limitations of epidemiological studies and how people's lifestyles and habits tend to go together, making it difficult to isolate the effects of specific factors like protein intake.
  • The speaker explains the concept of "healthy user bias" and why randomized control trials are considered the gold standard in research.
  • Randomized control trials help eliminate self-selection bias and ensure that any inherent characteristics of the subjects are equally distributed among the groups.
  • The speaker mentions a study comparing intermittent fasting and continuous energy restriction and criticizes the argument that one group may have eaten junk food, emphasizing the importance of randomization in controlling for such factors.

Fat Loss and Fat Oxidation (01:38:57)

  • Ketogenic diet is effective in reducing epilepsy, but there's less evidence to support its benefits for other brain problems.
  • Low carb diets, including keto, seem to function for fat loss the same way as other diets through a calorie deficit.
  • Studies comparing diets equal in calories and protein but varying in carbohydrate and fat content show no real differences in weight loss or fat loss.
  • On a ketogenic diet, you burn more fat because you're eating more fat and keeping insulin low, which reduces the rate of fat oxidation and lipolysis.
  • Despite burning more fat on a ketogenic diet, studies show no significant differences in fat loss compared to low-fat diets.

The Importance of Failure in Success Rate (01:41:31)

  • Fat loss is the balance between storing and burning fat, while fat burning is only one aspect of fat loss.
  • Energy balance, or the difference between calories consumed and calories burned, is the key factor in determining fat loss or gain.
  • Human trials that measure the desired outcome, rather than proxy measures, are more reliable in determining the effectiveness of a diet or intervention.
  • Consistency and sustainability are crucial, and quick fixes or unrealistic promises should be viewed with skepticism.
  • Taking action, even if it leads to failure, is better than inaction as it provides opportunities for learning and improvement.

Ozempic (01:49:29)

  • Layne Norton discusses the importance of embracing failure and learning from mistakes.
  • He cites examples of successful individuals and companies that have thrived by increasing their failure rate.
  • Norton emphasizes the significance of taking risks and trying new things, even if there is no guarantee of success.
  • He stresses that the most fulfilling experiences often come from overcoming challenges and setbacks.
  • Norton criticizes the pursuit of quick fixes and shortcuts in dieting, arguing that the process of learning and self-discovery is essential for achieving true fulfillment.

What Are the Downsides of These Drugs? (01:52:46)

  • GLP-1 mimics, such as Ozempic, are effective anti-obesity treatments that work by mimicking the hormone GLP-1, which signals fullness to the brain and gut.
  • GLP-1 mimics have a long half-life, leading to reduced appetite and weight loss.
  • Some side effects, like nausea and vomiting, may occur but usually decrease over time.
  • Long-term effects on brain chemistry are not fully understood, but reduced food cravings have been reported even after stopping the drug.
  • GLP-1 mimics do not increase metabolism, so individuals with a slow metabolism may not benefit.
  • Lean mass loss can occur, especially without resistance training or sufficient protein intake.
  • Healthy food choices may not be made while taking Ozempic, leading to potential weight regain after discontinuation.
  • Long-term studies on Ozempic's impact are lacking, and there is no guarantee of complete safety.
  • Concerns about thyroid cancer risk exist, but findings are based on high-dose rodent studies and may not apply to humans.
  • Ozempic may be beneficial for those struggling to lose weight through diet and exercise alone, despite potential side effects.
  • Some fitness industry professionals criticize Ozempic while promoting their own fat burners of questionable effectiveness.

What Do You Think of the Fitness Industry? (02:00:12)

  • The fitness industry lacks barriers to entry, leading to a focus on aesthetics rather than scientific knowledge, and people often choose personal trainers based on appearance rather than qualifications.
  • Humans are emotional and irrational, often relying on shortcuts when making decisions, making it difficult to identify credible sources of information.
  • There is a gap between scientific research and the average person's understanding, making it challenging to determine who is knowledgeable on a particular topic.
  • Resistance training has numerous health benefits, including reducing the risk of cancer, heart disease, sarcopenia, falls, and broken bones, and it can improve bone density and is beneficial for people of all ages, even the elderly.

Resistance Training (02:07:41)

  • Resistance training throughout life can significantly improve quality of life.
  • Questioning negative thoughts about aging and mobility can prevent self-fulfilling prophecies.
  • Strengthening painful areas through exercise is more beneficial than avoiding activity.
  • Physicians' advice to stop activity due to pain can be damaging, especially as people age.
  • It is possible to be strong and have pain.

How to Grow Big Muscles (02:08:52)

  • Resistance training, even without weights, can decrease back pain by creating muscle tension through intense stretching.
  • Pain is both a psychological and physical experience.
  • Inactivity worsens pain.
  • To maximize muscle growth, one must get close to volitional failure during resistance training.
  • The intensity and number of hard sets are the most important factors for muscle growth.
  • Higher volumes of hard sets improve muscle growth compared to lower volumes.
  • Machines and free weights are equally effective for muscle growth.
  • There are many options for building muscle, and one can switch to alternative exercises if experiencing pain.

Last Guest Question (02:17:57)

  • The speaker reflects on staying in harmful relationships due to perception, remnants of bullying, and difficulty trusting themselves. They emphasize the importance of knowing when to give up or push through in a relationship and acknowledge that there's no clear parameter for this decision.
  • The speaker discusses the challenges of recognizing their own contributions to toxic relationships and the regrets that come with losing people.
  • They express love and gratitude towards their children, emphasizing the importance of finding something they love and making a positive impact on the world.
  • The speaker thanks their father for not repeating their grandfather's mistakes and expresses appreciation for their parents' belief, support, and acceptance throughout their life.
  • The speaker shares a heartfelt memory of their grandfather, who lived a remarkable life despite facing numerous health challenges and surviving dangerous situations during World War II. They reflect on the wisdom and positive outlook on life that their grandfather possessed, even during his final days.
  • The speaker finds comfort in the fact that their grandfather passed away peacefully, surrounded by his loving family, and expresses admiration for his ability to make light of even the most difficult situations.
  • Layne Norton's podcast guest was moved to tears by his honesty and openness about his faults and nuanced views on himself and his work. The guest expressed gratitude for the positive impact Norton has had on millions of people's lives. Norton's willingness to be honest and vulnerable in his work is seen as a valuable and inspiring trait.

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