Thursday, August 30, 2012

An article on exercise and calories

When it comes to losing weight, personal experience tells me that exercise is not a very useful tool. It makes you hungry. End of story. Keep it simple. Exercise can be conducive to a healthy lifestyle, however it is no surprise that most people end up frustrated with the outcome when they try to adjust both diet and exercise levers at the same time, as they are fighting each other.

Now, the paper "Hunter-Gatherer Energetics and Human Obesity"  introduces a new insight in support of addressing obesity through energy inputs and not by energy outputs.In the study, the highly active Hadzu tribe were studied to establish their calorie burn. It's a surprise but the authors of the study report:

"Contrary to expectations, measures of TEE (daily energy expenditure) among Hadza adults were similar to those in Western (U.S. and Europe) populations. In multivariate comparisons of TEE controlling for FFM and age, Hadza women’s energy expenditure was similar to that of Western women (n = 186) and Hadza men’s TEE was similar to Western men (n = 53); lifestyle had no effect on TEE (women: F(139) = 0.18, p = 0.67; men: F(49) = 0.17, p = 0.68)"

"...Measurements of TEE among Hadza hunter-gatherers challenge the view that Western lifestyles result in abnormally low energy expenditure, and that decreased energy expenditure is a primary cause of obesity in developed countries."

"... The similarity in TEE among Hadza hunter-gatherers and Westerners suggests that even dramatic differences in lifestyle may have a negligible effect on TEE, and is consistent with the view that differences in obesity prevalence between populations result primarily from differences in energy intake rather than expenditure"

The author has a written an article in the New York Times about the study. So, it appears that exercise may burn the calories in the short-term, but over the longer horizon the complex interactions of the body make some adjustments that we just don't understand. 

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