Your central neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, is synthesized from how many calories?
The answer is it isn’t. It is synthesized from choline, an essential nutrient, not calories. Other organs and your brain require choline to manage many biological functions. Your hunger is largely driven by brain health and in part the choline availability in the body. So when you eat none to begin with, and then you eat less food, do you think your brain will be better or worse at managing willpower, hunger, cravings, and emotions?
In 1,000,000 kcals of McDonald’s french fries, there exists precisely ZERO micrograms of choline. We may need 400-800 milligrams of choline per day to operate somewhere between “ok” and optimal. Millions of garbage calories deliver zero micrograms. We need hundreds of milligrams. Calories won’t get us there, folks. The lack of calories definitely won’t get us to optimal fitness and health. The picture is bigger than that.
For many years I’ve heard clients who hit their upper limit of daily macros or calories report back they are still hungry. Did you hit protein sufficiency? Did you hit fiber sufficiency? Did you hit micronutrient sufficiency?
Conversely, I and others have fasted with mineral and b vitamin support with no hunger or cravings. Why would this be?
Because micronutrients are required every week at all stages of life. External calories are not required but every few weeks or months in grown adults.
So, again, calories-in/calories-out is only true as a post hoc description. It isn’t a useful explanation, given that human biochemistry relies mostly on things which aren’t external calories. You lost weight. Yes, you ate fewer calories than you used. Jeff Bezos is a billionaire. Yes, he saved more money than he spent. Cool description, bro. The explanation for HOW to do this is largely unrelated to the aftermath hindsight description. Please differentiate.
The soil is depleted: https://www.scientificamerican.com/…/soil-depletion-and-nu…/. And we have a lot of ultra-processing which further degrades the already nutrient-devoid food. Your brain knows it isn’t getting required building material from bushels of food. That isn’t a moral failing. That isn’t a willpower miss. You’re ravenous and out-of-control because you’re starving your poor brain and over-stressing it. Since you starve your brain chronically, you condition it to want to at least get high with junk food.
I’m not a robot. The reason I don’t get tempted by junk food, drinks, and desserts isn’t because I have iron will. I don’t even second glance at food porn. It’s because I’ve been paying attention to serving my fundamental needs for years now. And every time I get lax in my attention to micronutrients I notice a dramatic rise in my desire for nonsense food. If you constantly obsess about eating items which shorten your lifespan, you are deficient on micronutrients.
Adding exercise will not solve that problem. Reducing your calories and burning more calories will not solve that problem. Adding a multi-vitamin may curb it. Adding additional vitamin and mineral support will curb it. Going out of your way to buy local produce from farms which haven’t turned over their soil 100,000 times will help. A choline supplement and choline-rich foods will suppress hunger and some of cravings.
Foundational biological requirements don’t just magically get wished away. And simply because you do a slightly better job at taking a multi-vitamin today doesn’t mean you’ve managed it tomorrow or next week. In fact, many multi-vitamins are suspect in their dosing and bioavailability. Try another brand. Try freshly juicing organic veggies. Try some reasonable effort at testing the hypothesis that you are woefully inadequate on micronutrient intake.
You’ll still need neurotransmitter balance for the rest of your life. That isn’t quackery. Your brain doesn’t care if an authoritative organization casts aspersions on prior choline recommendations. Your brain still needs what it needs without any regard to the averages spouted off by experts out there.
The body does a lot of wondrous things. But it isn’t a medieval alchemist. You can’t synthesize electrolytes from calories. You can’t support brain health with piles of processed junk. You can’t reasonably expect to manage emotional and psychological health, ever, let alone during dieting, without paying acute attention to the non-negotiable needs of the human animal. And most of these needs aren’t cleaved from external calories. Thus, simply focusing on calorie equations is dead in the water before we even get going.