The problem with science

Science has added *so* much to the fitness / weight loss / physique world and I feel very grateful that there are people out there publishing some really high quality studies which help us to get results but science is not the be-all and end-all that some people on these forums suggest so I wanted to mention a few points that I think it’s worth keeping in mind:

For example:

1) Science has been described as "observing the world around you”. That’s the best definition I have found. Notice it doesn’t say “listening only to people who observed results in laboratories” ;)

2) Studies, by definition, publish averages. For example: 15 subjects did x and got y result. In reality, perhaps 8 of the subjects got almost identical results, 4 got results which were close to the 8 and 3 got totally different results. Those 3 are *20%* of the test group…. and their results are completely hidden in the averages.

3) Science is just the latest opinion on a subject, albeit a hopefully very educated one. The "science" of weight loss is totally different today compared to 10 years ago. 10 years from now it will be completely different again. Don’t get *too” attached to the studies we have today ;)

4) CICO is a great place to start for weight loss but it is definitely not an absolute. I work in the fitness industry and know professional physique athletes who dramatically *increase* their calories to get lean for a show. Now, for an average person with 30 lbs to lose this may or may not apply to them but some people need to eat more to lose bodyfat and some people need to eat less. (I recently came across a great article on this which I will try to find and post below.)

5) The main problem with CICO relates to hormones. I have seen a few snarky comments on this forum say things like “oh so your body is breaking the laws of physics is it??” when one poster says that they lose more fat on higher calories (which I have observed in myself and others many times). The thing is that the person making the comment definitely isn’t a physicist (and doesn’t really understand the laws of physics) and isn’t a physiologist either (so definitely doesn’t understand how the laws of physics relate the the trillions of processes taking place in the human body every second) so their comment is a case of “a little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing”. The confusion with CICO relates to CO. The body is actually very good at down-regulating fat loss when calorie intake is reduced (if you don’t agree, see point 2 ;). You are alive today because a few thousand generations of your ancestors survived on very little food for most of their lives. What often produces the result is the *change*. Moving from a long period of higher calories to reduced calories or moving from a long period of lower calories to high calories. So, when someone tells you they are losing more fat on higher calories, remember that you are not a physiologist; you are a weight loss forummer; and you don’t actually have enough experience to know if someone is absolutely wrong when they are observing their own body right in front of their eyes. It’s very important to keep our minds open in this field. I can guarantee that you will have a different opinion on this subject in 10 years so why assume you are 100% correct today.

Anyway, these are a few points I wanted to put out there in case someone finds them useful. I’ve been involved in the fitness / physique world for more than 20 years so I have seen a few things along the way and whilst the current trend towards science-based fitness is extremely positive, I personally feel that we mustn’t become a slave to it.
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Replies

  • Habiteer
    Habiteer Posts: 190 Member
    imo, the best way for you to know what the best science of fitness of nutrition is to read as much as you can about what has already been studied and then do your own unpublished study with a sample size of 1 person. Yourself. Just log everything. Everything you eat. Everything that is non-sedentary or non-standard to your routine (to try and compensate for calories out). Your weight. Your lifting weights. How much exertion was required to perform your routine. Etc.

    I'm sure professional fitness enthusiasts are already doing those things in a little paper journal and have been doing things like that for years.
  • mrs_justice
    mrs_justice Posts: 76 Member
    lissmayer wrote: »
    The problem with science is all those pesky advanced-degreed researchers who think their peer-reviewed, evidence-based findings have more value than my personal beliefs (which are obviously more valuable because I thought them up with my very own head).

    Honestly, it's a conspiracy to denigrate my personal specialness.

    Haha... Yes. LOL
  • The_Enginerd
    The_Enginerd Posts: 3,974 Member
    psulemon wrote: »
    Oh, IRT the eating more to lose more concept that you discuss. I have experienced that myself, but here is why I think I didn't lose weight at 1800, as compared to when I was eating 2300 calories. I think the increase in energy allowed me to stick to my calories more stringently, and I had more available energy to put through workouts. And since we don't live in metabolic wards, those are two very important factors. Down regulation of metabolism doesn't occur quickly and is vastly over blown within the community. And while adapative thermogenesis is a real thing, and can be increased through extend low calorie diet, it's not nearly what many people are lead to believe.
    In addition to a change in CO due to changes in NEAT, in free living conditions, I would bet folks are much less likely to fudge and cheat on an 1800 calorie diet vs. a 2300 calorie diet. Do the studies in controlled settings or use something like doubly labeled water to spy on folks, and I bet the CI difference isn't nearly what it appears to be.
  • The_Enginerd
    The_Enginerd Posts: 3,974 Member
    ogtmama wrote: »
    Vortex88 wrote: »
    Science has added *so* much to the fitness / weight loss / physique world and I feel very grateful that there are people out there publishing some really high quality studies which help us to get results but science is not the be-all and end-all that some people on these forums suggest so I wanted to mention a few points that I think it’s worth keeping in mind:

    For example:

    1) Science has been described as "observing the world around you”. That’s the best definition I have found. Notice it doesn’t say “listening only to people who observed results in laboratories” ;)

    2) Studies, by definition, publish averages. For example: 15 subjects did x and got y result. In reality, perhaps 8 of the subjects got almost identical results, 4 got results which were close to the 8 and 3 got totally different results. Those 3 are *20%* of the test group…. and their results are completely hidden in the averages.

    3) Science is just the latest opinion on a subject, albeit a hopefully very educated one. The "science" of weight loss is totally different today compared to 10 years ago. 10 years from now it will be completely different again. Don’t get *too” attached to the studies we have today ;)

    4) CICO is a great place to start for weight loss but it is definitely not an absolute. I work in the fitness industry and know professional physique athletes who dramatically *increase* their calories to get lean for a show. Now, for an average person with 30 lbs to lose this may or may not apply to them but some people need to eat more to lose bodyfat and some people need to eat less. (I recently came across a great article on this which I will try to find and post below.)

    5) The main problem with CICO relates to hormones. I have seen a few snarky comments on this forum say things like “oh so your body is breaking the laws of physics is it??” when one poster says that they lose more fat on higher calories (which I have observed in myself and others many times). The thing is that the person making the comment definitely isn’t a physicist (and doesn’t really understand the laws of physics) and isn’t a physiologist either (so definitely doesn’t understand how the laws of physics relate the the trillions of processes taking place in the human body every second) so their comment is a case of “a little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing”. The confusion with CICO relates to CO. The body is actually very good at down-regulating fat loss when calorie intake is reduced (if you don’t agree, see point 2 ;). You are alive today because a few thousand generations of your ancestors survived on very little food for most of their lives. What often produces the result is the *change*. Moving from a long period of higher calories to reduced calories or moving from a long period of lower calories to high calories. So, when someone tells you they are losing more fat on higher calories, remember that you are not a physiologist; you are a weight loss forummer; and you don’t actually have enough experience to know if someone is absolutely wrong when they are observing their own body right in front of their eyes. It’s very important to keep our minds open in this field. I can guarantee that you will have a different opinion on this subject in 10 years so why assume you are 100% correct today.

    Anyway, these are a few points I wanted to put out there in case someone finds them useful. I’ve been involved in the fitness / physique world for more than 20 years so I have seen a few things along the way and whilst the current trend towards science-based fitness is extremely positive, I personally feel that we mustn’t become a slave to it.

    1) observing the world around you without applying the scientific method is what leads people to believe that the world is flat and the sun revolves around us.
    I believe that's the same thing that led to the "fact" that items fall faster under gravity if they are heavier since a ball falls faster than a feather. Science taught us that isn't true, and to account for air resistance.
  • CasperNaegle
    CasperNaegle Posts: 936 Member
    lissmayer wrote: »
    The problem with science is all those pesky advanced-degreed researchers who think their peer-reviewed, evidence-based findings have more value than my personal beliefs (which are obviously more valuable because I thought them up with my very own head).

    Honestly, it's a conspiracy to denigrate my personal specialness.

    HaHa This X1000%