Simplify fat gain
What controls changes in fat mass?
It’s not food, exercise or energy balance (these come later).
At the most basic level, it’s the net result of fat loss and fat gain during a given period of time (day, week, month, year, etc).
The body’s fat stores are in a constant state of flux.
After you eat, the energy from food is directed towards cells or tissue for use.
Any excess energy surplus to current needs will be stored in adipose tissue (fat gain).
As you get further away from that meal and more energy is required by the body, the stored energy can be released from the adipose tissue for use (fat loss).
It won’t necessarily be the same calories that were excess from the previous meal, but the net result is the same.
So your body fat mass will be slightly different at 5 am compared to 5 pm, depending on energy intake and physical activity throughout the day.
You might be thinking this sounds like nitpicking to say that fat gain and fat loss are the key to body composition, particularly when I’ve mentioned energy balance so many times over the years.
Energy balance is the method we use to achieve this goal, using energy intake and expenditure as tools to do the work.
It’s like saving money in the bank.
If you spend less than you earn, you will have an amount that can be saved in the bank.
Not only do you need to be able to save the money in the first place, but you need the bank to honour its obligation.
If the bank disappears, then so do your savings!
Thankfully for your money, this is very rare.
The comparison for the body is a medical intervention such as liposuction, where the body fat is literally cut off.
No energy deficit is created, but the fat loss exceeds fat gain during a short period of time (the operation).
This proves that you can lose weight without creating an energy deficit, but it's not relevant to many people.
Energy balance is the method 99.99% of people use to successfully lose weight, implementing changes in energy intake and physical activity.
Alternative hypothesis or the idea that a specific nutrient, toxin or moon orientation on your birthday are responsible for fat gain would be a third category.
If the idea states that calories don’t matter, and there’s no medical intervention, then something else must be to causing fat gain to exceed fat loss (ie. the nutrient, toxin or moon orientation).
Based on the current literature and evidence-based practice, this does not seem to be the case.
So energy balance remains the king, just keep in mind that it’s a method to achieve the outcome.