Mass MUST be conserved ... v. 2.0

Do you ever have those "I wish I said that" moments?  I've been having a few after my recent Jimmy Moore interview.  We discussed the whole insulin thing a bit and I mentioned that you can't gain more than a pound of fat eating a pound of any food.  As time would be used discussing other things, we never really got to Jimmy's initial reaction that he didn't believe that.  I wish I had a chance to suggest this simple experiment to Jimmy to prove this point beyond all doubt.

Here is my experiment for you.  Right now, go get on a scale and weigh yourself.  Then, go get a pound bag of something "evil" ... be it cookies, chips, bread, etc.  Lift it up while still on the scale (for best results, hold close to your body) -- hopefully your scale is accurate enough to register the difference.  You should weigh the initial weight + 1 lb.   If you will need to drink anything to down the food, have that in the other hand -- IOW weigh yourself + 1 lb food + liquid (again, hold close to your body).  Now ... step off the scale.  Scarf down the entire pound of food (with liquid if you weighed that too).  Step back on the scale ASAP after the last bite/slurp (with empty containers if you think they weigh anything significant).  If you don't weigh the same as you did before stepping off, your scale sucks!  

It is physically impossible to move a mass from outside your belly to inside it and have it "weigh" more (or less).  But surely insulin or your biological system does something magical to the food to transform it into something more?  Well, do this just before bedtime and go to sleep.  Weigh yourself again in the morning (before you eliminate or drink anything).  If you don't weigh the same (or slightly less b/c we can lose a bit of water weight and exhale CO2 from metabolized carb/fat/protein as we sleep), again, your scale sucks.  

Your body simply CANNOT gain non-water weight mass (e.g. stored fat and/or fat-free tissues) in excess of the mass of what you've put in it.  This is an indisputable truth.  However junky or wholesome the food you consume is, it is incapable of adding more true mass to YOU than it possesses.  Insulin CANNOT wave some magic wand to override this simple truth either.  Think of the food as a canister of Lego blocks.  Metabolically we can rearrange the blocks into different compounds, just as we can create any number of different structures with our blocks.  But, unless you dump more blocks into a canister, the weight of whatever you can make out of the contents cannot exceed the weight of the blocks to begin with.  


Unknown said…
Hi Carbsane.

I see your point and it is inarguable within in the confines that you demonstrate it. However, expand this over a period of time and consider how this 1 kg bag of cookies vs 1 Kg of, say, protein affects the system that is consuming it. In a one day period of consumption including the cookies, the system will more likely store more of the other foods consumed resulting in an overall greater gain. I think this is the difference that is driving opposition to your notion that 1 kg of carbs vs 1 kg of protein are metabolically equivalent over a period of time.

You are applying a strict physical principal of loss of mass to a dynamic system where there is a delta in time that must be considered since the in input fundamentally alters the system you are observing.