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Excess calorie vs. nutrient deficiency: which is worse?


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Dear all,

If one day you had to chose between:

1. Exceeding your calorie target but getting all the nutrients you need.

2. Getting the calories right (that is, low) but not hitting your nutrient targets.

Which one would you chose? Which one is more detrimental to health?

When I am invited for dinner at friends house, I tend to exceed my calorie target for the day. As a solution I could refrain from eating during the day, but that would probably mean I would not get all the nutrients I need. Hence my question.



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Nutrient goals do not need to be met every day.  Calorie goals do not have to be met every  day.  Eat nutrient dense foods as much as practical/possible and don't sweat day to day variation.  Many embrace fasting in one form or another.  I find it a good way to bring my average caloric intake down without having to be continuously restrictive.

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As Todd says, the average value governs.

However, your question would be relevant to a CR regimen which does not reach all nutrients needed. The correct answer in this context would be 'priority to caloric restriction', and the possible deficiency issue may be solved by:

  1. Using a targeted supplementation (easy way)
  2. Designing a diet which hits the CR target with the average minimum amounts of all nutrients (difficult solution). This entails optimization strategies, often by trial-and-error  using apps like cronometer. The optimization works like a game, trying to find out the combination of foods which minimizes calories and maximizes nutrients at the same time.


Edited by mccoy
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