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Scientific Research on Metabolism

lylosminaplylosminap Posts: 1Member Member Posts: 1Member Member
My husband alerted me to this recent article from AARP about recent research performed by Duke University Evolutionary Anthropologist Herman Pontzer.

https://www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-2018/metabolism-myths-weight-loss.html

I found it very intriguing, and I was especially interested in his point regarding inflammation - which is finally gaining the recognition it deserves, in my view, as a fundamental basis of so many illnesses.

My personal experience has been that when I exercise and eat a healthy diet, not only do I lose weight, but my health issues that are directly and primarily related to inflammation improve dramatically, such as osteoarthritis in my knees and a condition called leukocytosis.

Would love to hear thoughts about this.
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Replies

  • deannalfisherdeannalfisher Posts: 5,168Member, Premium Member Posts: 5,168Member, Premium Member
    i'd prefer him to cite studies/research that back up all his "facts" because they don't align with much of the research that i am seeing from exercise physiologists who study metabolism
  • French_PeasantFrench_Peasant Posts: 1,631Member Member Posts: 1,631Member Member
    Boba_14626 wrote: »
    Here's the link to the actual published study: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0040503

    The article from AARP is misleading. This is a paper comparing the traditional Western diets and activities with Aborignal diets and activities. The conclusion is "that human daily energy expenditure may be an evolved physiological trait largely independent of cultural differences." AARP says that we lose weight because of inflammation. UUuhhhhh....maybe a little. But an obese person is not obese becasue of inflammation alone.

    Thanks for posting that link....agree that the AARP is a hot stinkin' mess. Here is a key graf in the paper that the AARP "writer" must have missed:

    "It is important to note that this was not an intervention study; we examined habitual TEE, PAL, and body composition in hunter-gatherers and Westerners, but did not examine the effects of imposing increased physical activity on Westerners. Physical activity has important, positive effects on health [39], and increased physical activity has been shown to play an important role in weight loss and weight-maintenance programs [40]. Some studies of self-reported activity level have even suggested that habitual activity may help prevent unhealthy weight gain, although the evidence is mixed [40]. More work is needed to integrate results from intervention studies of PAL and TEE with population-level comparisons of habitual energy expenditure."
  • NorthCascadesNorthCascades Posts: 9,381Member Member Posts: 9,381Member Member
    Think of inflammation as a luxury?
  • NorthCascadesNorthCascades Posts: 9,381Member Member Posts: 9,381Member Member
    CSARdiver wrote: »
    Q: You claim that exercising more won’t increase how many calories I burn. How is that possible?

    A: The number of calories you burn per day stays pretty consistent regardless of activity level; the average adult over age 50 burns about 2,500 calories a day, depending primarily on body size. That’s your daily calorie budget. When you exercise more, your body simply lowers the number of calories it burns performing other functions, such as inflammation or hormone production. So the number of calories you burn per day — your metabolism — remains constant, whether you work out or not.

    He starts out correct – metabolism is primarily based upon mass, but your body does not lower the number of calories it burns performing other functions. Hormone production and inflammation occurs as a result of various stressors and does not hold a causational relationship to metabolism. He’s conflating basal metabolic rate with exercise.

    Well, it takes about the same number of calories to breathe whether you've just raced or spent the day sitting on the couch.

    People like to act as if metabolism is this mysterious external thing, that you can nudge back and forth by doing certain rituals. Your metabolism is the sun total of all that keeps you alive. Your body isn't going to turn your heart off for a couple hours to save calories.

    I think the quote above is at the heart of the other "exercise doesn't burn calories" stuff. I know I don't go on as many walks after I get home from a very long ride or hike. But nowhere near enough to balance out. I might go burn 1,500 kcal in a few hours on the bike, and then walk 100 kcal less than normal. A marathon buns 2,600 kcal for a light runner, you can't do 2,600 kcal less movement to make up for that. The claim is based on a Kendall of truth, but is mathematically impossible for many people.
  • CSARdiverCSARdiver Posts: 6,177Member Member Posts: 6,177Member Member
    CSARdiver wrote: »
    This would be one of the reasons I left anthropology/sociology for a field reliant upon objective evidence.

    Q: You claim that exercising more won’t increase how many calories I burn. How is that possible?

    A: The number of calories you burn per day stays pretty consistent regardless of activity level; the average adult over age 50 burns about 2,500 calories a day, depending primarily on body size. That’s your daily calorie budget. When you exercise more, your body simply lowers the number of calories it burns performing other functions, such as inflammation or hormone production. So the number of calories you burn per day — your metabolism — remains constant, whether you work out or not.

    He starts out correct – metabolism is primarily based upon mass, but your body does not lower the number of calories it burns performing other functions. Hormone production and inflammation occurs as a result of various stressors and does not hold a causational relationship to metabolism. He’s conflating basal metabolic rate with exercise.

    Q: Yet exercise is linked to weight loss. If I’m not burning calories, how am I losing weight?

    A: When people exercise, inflammation levels go down. That’s because your body is spending your energy budget on exercise and not on creating chronic inflammation. Think of inflammation as a luxury — it’s what your body will do with extra calories if you have them. And inflammation contributes to most of the diseases of aging.

    There is no objective evidence supporting this.

    Q: Extreme diets (The Biggest Loser type) can lower metabolism. If a diet can lower metabolism, why can’t we increase it?

    A: From an evolutionary standpoint, it makes sense that we can turn our metabolism down, because that preserves our life in times of famine. But it makes no sense to turn your metabolism up, because once you do that, you need more food, and you increase your risk of starvation.

    Makes sense yes, but again, no evidence to support this.

    Q: Superathletes such as swimmer Michael Phelps eat and burn tons of calories. They’ve turned up their metabolisms, right?

    A: No. If you ramp up your training to an astronomical level, you can boost your energy burn for a bit, but even elite athletes settle back into the same range. Even Phelps.

    Again – conflating and confusing basal metabolic rate with exercise.

    Q: What about diets or workouts that promise to “supercharge” metabolism?

    A: There is no such thing as a diet that can speed up your metabolism. The most effective diet is one that provides all the healthy nutrients you need while reducing your calorie intake to below your calorie budget. Think of diet and exercise as two separate tools. Exercise is great for heart health, for preventing cognitive decline, for preserving physical fitness. But if you want to lose weight, the tool for that is diet.

    The first part is correct – you cannot raise or lower your metabolism significantly other than changing your body mass.

    The second part is incorrect – you lose weight via establishing a caloric deficit, whether this be via decreasing caloric intake, increasing caloric output, or both.

    Except Muntzer does have evidence. I've listened to him on a podcast before - he's aware that what he proposes about energy expenditure goes against a lot of lab work nutrition studies humans. Yet, he has done doubly labeled water studies on hunter-gather people - it is pretty strong evidence he has their calorie expenditure / TDEE pegged. He's also used activity trackers on them to study their movement and see they are fairly active people. He's done studies on their biomechanics to see if they somehow have mastered moving in a more efficient way, but no.

    Until such time as someone can show something was done wrong in the metabolism studies with doubly labeled water, or activity tracking, the evidence he does have holds that some component of BMR is altered in the hunter-gatherers he's studied.

    I suppose I need to look into this paper itself for the parts about inflammation though.

    Can you please provide a link?

    I've heard of similar theories, but the objective evidence never supports the initial claim. A design of experiment to prove this would require instrumental precision and accuracy beyond current capability.

    Biochemical pathways do not operate in such a manner as to "decide" to spend energy on "not creating chronic inflammation".

    Inflammation is created as stimulus to stressors - foreign bodies, damaged tissue, etc. There appears to be a fundamental flaw in net energy utilization thinking of this as a closed system.
  • magnusthenerdmagnusthenerd Posts: 849Member Member Posts: 849Member Member
    CSARdiver wrote: »
    CSARdiver wrote: »
    This would be one of the reasons I left anthropology/sociology for a field reliant upon objective evidence.

    Q: You claim that exercising more won’t increase how many calories I burn. How is that possible?

    A: The number of calories you burn per day stays pretty consistent regardless of activity level; the average adult over age 50 burns about 2,500 calories a day, depending primarily on body size. That’s your daily calorie budget. When you exercise more, your body simply lowers the number of calories it burns performing other functions, such as inflammation or hormone production. So the number of calories you burn per day — your metabolism — remains constant, whether you work out or not.

    He starts out correct – metabolism is primarily based upon mass, but your body does not lower the number of calories it burns performing other functions. Hormone production and inflammation occurs as a result of various stressors and does not hold a causational relationship to metabolism. He’s conflating basal metabolic rate with exercise.

    Q: Yet exercise is linked to weight loss. If I’m not burning calories, how am I losing weight?

    A: When people exercise, inflammation levels go down. That’s because your body is spending your energy budget on exercise and not on creating chronic inflammation. Think of inflammation as a luxury — it’s what your body will do with extra calories if you have them. And inflammation contributes to most of the diseases of aging.

    There is no objective evidence supporting this.

    Q: Extreme diets (The Biggest Loser type) can lower metabolism. If a diet can lower metabolism, why can’t we increase it?

    A: From an evolutionary standpoint, it makes sense that we can turn our metabolism down, because that preserves our life in times of famine. But it makes no sense to turn your metabolism up, because once you do that, you need more food, and you increase your risk of starvation.

    Makes sense yes, but again, no evidence to support this.

    Q: Superathletes such as swimmer Michael Phelps eat and burn tons of calories. They’ve turned up their metabolisms, right?

    A: No. If you ramp up your training to an astronomical level, you can boost your energy burn for a bit, but even elite athletes settle back into the same range. Even Phelps.

    Again – conflating and confusing basal metabolic rate with exercise.

    Q: What about diets or workouts that promise to “supercharge” metabolism?

    A: There is no such thing as a diet that can speed up your metabolism. The most effective diet is one that provides all the healthy nutrients you need while reducing your calorie intake to below your calorie budget. Think of diet and exercise as two separate tools. Exercise is great for heart health, for preventing cognitive decline, for preserving physical fitness. But if you want to lose weight, the tool for that is diet.

    The first part is correct – you cannot raise or lower your metabolism significantly other than changing your body mass.

    The second part is incorrect – you lose weight via establishing a caloric deficit, whether this be via decreasing caloric intake, increasing caloric output, or both.

    Except Muntzer does have evidence. I've listened to him on a podcast before - he's aware that what he proposes about energy expenditure goes against a lot of lab work nutrition studies humans. Yet, he has done doubly labeled water studies on hunter-gather people - it is pretty strong evidence he has their calorie expenditure / TDEE pegged. He's also used activity trackers on them to study their movement and see they are fairly active people. He's done studies on their biomechanics to see if they somehow have mastered moving in a more efficient way, but no.

    Until such time as someone can show something was done wrong in the metabolism studies with doubly labeled water, or activity tracking, the evidence he does have holds that some component of BMR is altered in the hunter-gatherers he's studied.

    I suppose I need to look into this paper itself for the parts about inflammation though.

    Can you please provide a link?

    I've heard of similar theories, but the objective evidence never supports the initial claim. A design of experiment to prove this would require instrumental precision and accuracy beyond current capability.

    Biochemical pathways do not operate in such a manner as to "decide" to spend energy on "not creating chronic inflammation".

    Inflammation is created as stimulus to stressors - foreign bodies, damaged tissue, etc. There appears to be a fundamental flaw in net energy utilization thinking of this as a closed system.

    Not sure how we got to calling him Muntzer rather than Pontzer. Sorry
    https://sigmanutrition.com/episode208/
    Is where I listened to him discussing it. I found it a bizarre claim myself, yet I've heard Pontzer's research being discussed by Eric Helms who I consider to be a reliable science reviewer.

    From listening to him, Pontzer is a bit away from the sociology side of anthropology and is much more on the side of evolutionary biology - he felt the energy constraints in humans are something evolved across other species.
  • magnusthenerdmagnusthenerd Posts: 849Member Member Posts: 849Member Member
    CSARdiver wrote: »
    This would be one of the reasons I left anthropology/sociology for a field reliant upon objective evidence.

    Q: You claim that exercising more won’t increase how many calories I burn. How is that possible?

    A: The number of calories you burn per day stays pretty consistent regardless of activity level; the average adult over age 50 burns about 2,500 calories a day, depending primarily on body size. That’s your daily calorie budget. When you exercise more, your body simply lowers the number of calories it burns performing other functions, such as inflammation or hormone production. So the number of calories you burn per day — your metabolism — remains constant, whether you work out or not.

    He starts out correct – metabolism is primarily based upon mass, but your body does not lower the number of calories it burns performing other functions. Hormone production and inflammation occurs as a result of various stressors and does not hold a causational relationship to metabolism. He’s conflating basal metabolic rate with exercise.

    Q: Yet exercise is linked to weight loss. If I’m not burning calories, how am I losing weight?

    A: When people exercise, inflammation levels go down. That’s because your body is spending your energy budget on exercise and not on creating chronic inflammation. Think of inflammation as a luxury — it’s what your body will do with extra calories if you have them. And inflammation contributes to most of the diseases of aging.

    There is no objective evidence supporting this.

    Q: Extreme diets (The Biggest Loser type) can lower metabolism. If a diet can lower metabolism, why can’t we increase it?

    A: From an evolutionary standpoint, it makes sense that we can turn our metabolism down, because that preserves our life in times of famine. But it makes no sense to turn your metabolism up, because once you do that, you need more food, and you increase your risk of starvation.

    Makes sense yes, but again, no evidence to support this.

    Q: Superathletes such as swimmer Michael Phelps eat and burn tons of calories. They’ve turned up their metabolisms, right?

    A: No. If you ramp up your training to an astronomical level, you can boost your energy burn for a bit, but even elite athletes settle back into the same range. Even Phelps.

    Again – conflating and confusing basal metabolic rate with exercise.

    Q: What about diets or workouts that promise to “supercharge” metabolism?

    A: There is no such thing as a diet that can speed up your metabolism. The most effective diet is one that provides all the healthy nutrients you need while reducing your calorie intake to below your calorie budget. Think of diet and exercise as two separate tools. Exercise is great for heart health, for preventing cognitive decline, for preserving physical fitness. But if you want to lose weight, the tool for that is diet.

    The first part is correct – you cannot raise or lower your metabolism significantly other than changing your body mass.

    The second part is incorrect – you lose weight via establishing a caloric deficit, whether this be via decreasing caloric intake, increasing caloric output, or both.

    Except Muntzer does have evidence. I've listened to him on a podcast before - he's aware that what he proposes about energy expenditure goes against a lot of lab work nutrition studies humans. Yet, he has done doubly labeled water studies on hunter-gather people - it is pretty strong evidence he has their calorie expenditure / TDEE pegged. He's also used activity trackers on them to study their movement and see they are fairly active people. He's done studies on their biomechanics to see if they somehow have mastered moving in a more efficient way, but no.

    Until such time as someone can show something was done wrong in the metabolism studies with doubly labeled water, or activity tracking, the evidence he does have holds that some component of BMR is altered in the hunter-gatherers he's studied.

    I suppose I need to look into this paper itself for the parts about inflammation though.

    The study itself appears to be solid, but it's not covering all the crazy-talk in Pontzer's interview--inflammation, Michael Phelps and all. Or are you saying that Pontzer has a paper out there demonstrating that inflammation is a luxury and leads to the diseases of aging? I would really like to read that one.

    Based on how he presents this information in the interview, if it wasn't heavily edited or otherwise skewed, I would have serious concerns about his ability to appropriately conduct research/interpret his data. Usually when a scientist discusses his work, he is still very precise, even when aiming his comments towards a less knowledgeable audience such as the general AARP readership, and should take care to make distinctions between things like BMR and calorie expenditures from exercise.

    Additionally, ANY outlier study should be taken with a big grain of salt...it needs to be replicated, and over the past decade we've discovered that a concerning number of studies published in the soft sciences are not replicable (or no one has even bothered trying, which kind of defeats the whole purpose of the scientific method) and yet are treated as gospel.

    I'm saying I've heard him cogently discuss the kinds of studies on the Hadza I already mentioned - doubly labeled water to establish total metabolism, and activity tracking plus biomechanics to try to establish if Hadza are secretly less active than they appear. I don't really know what the study about inflammation is. When I listened to him on the podcast, what he threw out was more on the hormonal side of down regulating BMR, saying it is possible the Hadza have things like lower testosterone and other energy expending hormones.

    I didn't say I'm taking anything of his as gospel. It kind of goes with me saying "he's aware that what he proposes about energy expenditure goes against a lot of lab work nutrition studies human" - meaning I'm also aware of that.

    As I said, I'd need to see his study to get some idea how he got into this inflammation comment. I don't know how much of it is AARP taking liberties with what he said when discussing his research with them.
  • French_PeasantFrench_Peasant Posts: 1,631Member Member Posts: 1,631Member Member
    CSARdiver wrote: »
    This would be one of the reasons I left anthropology/sociology for a field reliant upon objective evidence.

    Q: You claim that exercising more won’t increase how many calories I burn. How is that possible?

    A: The number of calories you burn per day stays pretty consistent regardless of activity level; the average adult over age 50 burns about 2,500 calories a day, depending primarily on body size. That’s your daily calorie budget. When you exercise more, your body simply lowers the number of calories it burns performing other functions, such as inflammation or hormone production. So the number of calories you burn per day — your metabolism — remains constant, whether you work out or not.

    He starts out correct – metabolism is primarily based upon mass, but your body does not lower the number of calories it burns performing other functions. Hormone production and inflammation occurs as a result of various stressors and does not hold a causational relationship to metabolism. He’s conflating basal metabolic rate with exercise.

    Q: Yet exercise is linked to weight loss. If I’m not burning calories, how am I losing weight?

    A: When people exercise, inflammation levels go down. That’s because your body is spending your energy budget on exercise and not on creating chronic inflammation. Think of inflammation as a luxury — it’s what your body will do with extra calories if you have them. And inflammation contributes to most of the diseases of aging.

    There is no objective evidence supporting this.

    Q: Extreme diets (The Biggest Loser type) can lower metabolism. If a diet can lower metabolism, why can’t we increase it?

    A: From an evolutionary standpoint, it makes sense that we can turn our metabolism down, because that preserves our life in times of famine. But it makes no sense to turn your metabolism up, because once you do that, you need more food, and you increase your risk of starvation.

    Makes sense yes, but again, no evidence to support this.

    Q: Superathletes such as swimmer Michael Phelps eat and burn tons of calories. They’ve turned up their metabolisms, right?

    A: No. If you ramp up your training to an astronomical level, you can boost your energy burn for a bit, but even elite athletes settle back into the same range. Even Phelps.

    Again – conflating and confusing basal metabolic rate with exercise.

    Q: What about diets or workouts that promise to “supercharge” metabolism?

    A: There is no such thing as a diet that can speed up your metabolism. The most effective diet is one that provides all the healthy nutrients you need while reducing your calorie intake to below your calorie budget. Think of diet and exercise as two separate tools. Exercise is great for heart health, for preventing cognitive decline, for preserving physical fitness. But if you want to lose weight, the tool for that is diet.

    The first part is correct – you cannot raise or lower your metabolism significantly other than changing your body mass.

    The second part is incorrect – you lose weight via establishing a caloric deficit, whether this be via decreasing caloric intake, increasing caloric output, or both.

    Except Muntzer does have evidence. I've listened to him on a podcast before - he's aware that what he proposes about energy expenditure goes against a lot of lab work nutrition studies humans. Yet, he has done doubly labeled water studies on hunter-gather people - it is pretty strong evidence he has their calorie expenditure / TDEE pegged. He's also used activity trackers on them to study their movement and see they are fairly active people. He's done studies on their biomechanics to see if they somehow have mastered moving in a more efficient way, but no.

    Until such time as someone can show something was done wrong in the metabolism studies with doubly labeled water, or activity tracking, the evidence he does have holds that some component of BMR is altered in the hunter-gatherers he's studied.

    I suppose I need to look into this paper itself for the parts about inflammation though.

    The study itself appears to be solid, but it's not covering all the crazy-talk in Pontzer's interview--inflammation, Michael Phelps and all. Or are you saying that Pontzer has a paper out there demonstrating that inflammation is a luxury and leads to the diseases of aging? I would really like to read that one.

    Based on how he presents this information in the interview, if it wasn't heavily edited or otherwise skewed, I would have serious concerns about his ability to appropriately conduct research/interpret his data. Usually when a scientist discusses his work, he is still very precise, even when aiming his comments towards a less knowledgeable audience such as the general AARP readership, and should take care to make distinctions between things like BMR and calorie expenditures from exercise.

    Additionally, ANY outlier study should be taken with a big grain of salt...it needs to be replicated, and over the past decade we've discovered that a concerning number of studies published in the soft sciences are not replicable (or no one has even bothered trying, which kind of defeats the whole purpose of the scientific method) and yet are treated as gospel.

    I'm saying I've heard him cogently discuss the kinds of studies on the Hadza I already mentioned - doubly labeled water to establish total metabolism, and activity tracking plus biomechanics to try to establish if Hadza are secretly less active than they appear. I don't really know what the study about inflammation is. When I listened to him on the podcast, what he threw out was more on the hormonal side of down regulating BMR, saying it is possible the Hadza have things like lower testosterone and other energy expending hormones.

    I didn't say I'm taking anything of his as gospel. It kind of goes with me saying "he's aware that what he proposes about energy expenditure goes against a lot of lab work nutrition studies human" - meaning I'm also aware of that.

    As I said, I'd need to see his study to get some idea how he got into this inflammation comment. I don't know how much of it is AARP taking liberties with what he said when discussing his research with them.

    I didn't mean for this to sound like I thought you were taking this as gospel, rather it's the way the media takes a study and runs with it (the PlosOne article has a much of media links) and the general public is taking it as gospel.

    Basically, I'm just baffled because I can't correlate the seemingly-careful study and his credentials with the AARP article. Like, was he drunk, or did they ambush him on the street?

    The reference to "expensive" hormones is very interesting and makes a lot more sense than "exercise don't do nuthin'." Which, I don't think is what he meant, but it is so sloppily phrased, the typical AARP reader would be confused or take away that exercise is useless for weight control. Michael Phelps may have the same metabolism as Joe Non-Abs-Six-Pack but he still needs to eat 8,000 or whatever calories to fuel his Olympic training.
  • magnusthenerdmagnusthenerd Posts: 849Member Member Posts: 849Member Member
    CSARdiver wrote: »
    This would be one of the reasons I left anthropology/sociology for a field reliant upon objective evidence.

    Q: You claim that exercising more won’t increase how many calories I burn. How is that possible?

    A: The number of calories you burn per day stays pretty consistent regardless of activity level; the average adult over age 50 burns about 2,500 calories a day, depending primarily on body size. That’s your daily calorie budget. When you exercise more, your body simply lowers the number of calories it burns performing other functions, such as inflammation or hormone production. So the number of calories you burn per day — your metabolism — remains constant, whether you work out or not.

    He starts out correct – metabolism is primarily based upon mass, but your body does not lower the number of calories it burns performing other functions. Hormone production and inflammation occurs as a result of various stressors and does not hold a causational relationship to metabolism. He’s conflating basal metabolic rate with exercise.

    Q: Yet exercise is linked to weight loss. If I’m not burning calories, how am I losing weight?

    A: When people exercise, inflammation levels go down. That’s because your body is spending your energy budget on exercise and not on creating chronic inflammation. Think of inflammation as a luxury — it’s what your body will do with extra calories if you have them. And inflammation contributes to most of the diseases of aging.

    There is no objective evidence supporting this.

    Q: Extreme diets (The Biggest Loser type) can lower metabolism. If a diet can lower metabolism, why can’t we increase it?

    A: From an evolutionary standpoint, it makes sense that we can turn our metabolism down, because that preserves our life in times of famine. But it makes no sense to turn your metabolism up, because once you do that, you need more food, and you increase your risk of starvation.

    Makes sense yes, but again, no evidence to support this.

    Q: Superathletes such as swimmer Michael Phelps eat and burn tons of calories. They’ve turned up their metabolisms, right?

    A: No. If you ramp up your training to an astronomical level, you can boost your energy burn for a bit, but even elite athletes settle back into the same range. Even Phelps.

    Again – conflating and confusing basal metabolic rate with exercise.

    Q: What about diets or workouts that promise to “supercharge” metabolism?

    A: There is no such thing as a diet that can speed up your metabolism. The most effective diet is one that provides all the healthy nutrients you need while reducing your calorie intake to below your calorie budget. Think of diet and exercise as two separate tools. Exercise is great for heart health, for preventing cognitive decline, for preserving physical fitness. But if you want to lose weight, the tool for that is diet.

    The first part is correct – you cannot raise or lower your metabolism significantly other than changing your body mass.

    The second part is incorrect – you lose weight via establishing a caloric deficit, whether this be via decreasing caloric intake, increasing caloric output, or both.

    Except Muntzer does have evidence. I've listened to him on a podcast before - he's aware that what he proposes about energy expenditure goes against a lot of lab work nutrition studies humans. Yet, he has done doubly labeled water studies on hunter-gather people - it is pretty strong evidence he has their calorie expenditure / TDEE pegged. He's also used activity trackers on them to study their movement and see they are fairly active people. He's done studies on their biomechanics to see if they somehow have mastered moving in a more efficient way, but no.

    Until such time as someone can show something was done wrong in the metabolism studies with doubly labeled water, or activity tracking, the evidence he does have holds that some component of BMR is altered in the hunter-gatherers he's studied.

    I suppose I need to look into this paper itself for the parts about inflammation though.

    The study itself appears to be solid, but it's not covering all the crazy-talk in Pontzer's interview--inflammation, Michael Phelps and all. Or are you saying that Pontzer has a paper out there demonstrating that inflammation is a luxury and leads to the diseases of aging? I would really like to read that one.

    Based on how he presents this information in the interview, if it wasn't heavily edited or otherwise skewed, I would have serious concerns about his ability to appropriately conduct research/interpret his data. Usually when a scientist discusses his work, he is still very precise, even when aiming his comments towards a less knowledgeable audience such as the general AARP readership, and should take care to make distinctions between things like BMR and calorie expenditures from exercise.

    Additionally, ANY outlier study should be taken with a big grain of salt...it needs to be replicated, and over the past decade we've discovered that a concerning number of studies published in the soft sciences are not replicable (or no one has even bothered trying, which kind of defeats the whole purpose of the scientific method) and yet are treated as gospel.

    I'm saying I've heard him cogently discuss the kinds of studies on the Hadza I already mentioned - doubly labeled water to establish total metabolism, and activity tracking plus biomechanics to try to establish if Hadza are secretly less active than they appear. I don't really know what the study about inflammation is. When I listened to him on the podcast, what he threw out was more on the hormonal side of down regulating BMR, saying it is possible the Hadza have things like lower testosterone and other energy expending hormones.

    I didn't say I'm taking anything of his as gospel. It kind of goes with me saying "he's aware that what he proposes about energy expenditure goes against a lot of lab work nutrition studies human" - meaning I'm also aware of that.

    As I said, I'd need to see his study to get some idea how he got into this inflammation comment. I don't know how much of it is AARP taking liberties with what he said when discussing his research with them.

    I didn't mean for this to sound like I thought you were taking this as gospel, rather it's the way the media takes a study and runs with it (the PlosOne article has a much of media links) and the general public is taking it as gospel.

    Basically, I'm just baffled because I can't correlate the seemingly-careful study and his credentials with the AARP article. Like, was he drunk, or did they ambush him on the street?

    The reference to "expensive" hormones is very interesting and makes a lot more sense than "exercise don't do nuthin'." Which, I don't think is what he meant, but it is so sloppily phrased, the typical AARP reader would be confused or take away that exercise is useless for weight control. Michael Phelps may have the same metabolism as Joe Non-Abs-Six-Pack but he still needs to eat 8,000 or whatever calories to fuel his Olympic training.

    Ah, got you.
    Yes, the AARP article is very different than listening to him on the Sigma Nutrition Podcast. On the podcast, he had the typical hedging claims kinds of communication scientists tend to, which news publishing hates for sounding non-committal and weak. He even discussed the case of people doing high levels of physical activity like marathon runners. He actually pointed out how unusual those levels of activity really are - where as people think hunter-gatherers are some of the world's most active people, they really are less active than a lot of people in sports near the pro level.
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Posts: 12,486Member Member Posts: 12,486Member Member
    I'll admit to having read this casually, not closely, but I feel like the conclusion I might want to draw is that the unconscious energy-expenditure homeostasis point maybe doesn't differ as much as one might assume, between human groups with very different lifestyles, on average.

    In a sense, it seems analogous (note: not identical!) to the discussion going on now in another debate thread, about how it seems that when people are presented with ultra-processed food vs. "whole" food in iso-caloric quantities, with no other controls on behavior, the commonest behavior is to consume more calories of the ultra-processed foods than of the whole foods. The popular-press accounts tend to turn this into "processed food causes obesity", but that's not really going to be the case if calorie intake is actually managed intentionally.

    Similarly, if one expends a lot of energy on exercise, the tendency may be to rest more at other times, pulling the net back toward some mean "evolutionary" energy expenditure point. But, as with calorie counting of intake, deliberate attempts to expend more-than-average calories can still be successful . . . i.e., it's the unconscious effect of otherwise unmanaged behavior that leads energy expenditure toward some statistically common mean value/range, or intake (on a certain type of food) toward some statistically common (over-)consumption level.

    In other words, maybe we have pre-installed tendencies, but we're not powerless against them. But I'm kinda just BS-ing here. ;)
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