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“Eat Less, Exercise More” Isn’t The Answer For Weight Loss

12 Comments

Alexandra Sifferlin     June 3, 2014     

Experts make an argument for why we should stop counting calories

You’ve heard it before: To lose weight, simply eat less and exercise more. In theory, that makes sense. Actually, it’s not just in theory—science has proven that burning more calories than you consume will result in weight loss. But the trouble is that this only has short-term results. For long-term weight loss, it simply doesn’t work, say renowned obesity experts in a recent JAMA commentary.

Ultimately their argument is this: stop counting calories. “We intuitively know that eat less exercise more doesn’t work. It’s such simple advice that if it worked, my colleagues and I would be out of job,” says Dr. David Ludwig, director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s Hospital. “The uncomfortable fact is that an exceedingly small number of people can lose a substantial amount of weight and keep it off following that advice.”

Blaming excess weight on people simply not changing their eating habits goes back thousands of years. Sloth and gluttony are two of the seven deadly sins, after all. But Ludwig and Dr. Mark L. Friedman of the Nutrition Science Initiative in San Diego, argue that this mindset disregards decades of research on the biological factors that control body weight. And they are not just talking about the role genetics play. They say we should stop viewing weight as something separate from other biological functions—like hormones and hunger and the effects of what foods we eat, not just how much of them.

What, then, is causing the obesity epidemic? The authors say it’s refined carbohydrates. Sugar and processed grains like white bread which have become ubiquitous in our diets, and one of the reasons refined carbs is the prime culprit is that we’ve spent far too long chastising fat. “We have to forget the low-fat paradigm,” says Dr. Ludwig. “Some high fat foods like avocado, nuts and olive oil are among the healthiest foods we could possibly eat.”

Refined carbohydrates spike insulin levels. Insulin, as Ludwig describes, is the granddaddy of anabolic hormones. Basically, when you eat a lot of refined carbs, like say, a 100-calorie pack of Oreos, it causes a surge of insulin that will trigger your fat cells to soak up calories—but there are not enough calories and nutrients to provide the energy that our bodies need. The brain recognizes this discrepancy and triggers a hunger response that also slows our metabolism. We are then going to want to eat more.

Instead of counting calories, we should be focusing on the quality of the food we consume, says Ludwig. “If you just try to eat less and exercise more, most people will lose that battle. Metabolism wins,” says Ludwig. “Simply looking at calories is misguided at best and potentially harmful because it disregards how those calories are affecting our hormones and metabolism—and ultimately our ability to stick to a diet.”

source: time.com

12 thoughts on ““Eat Less, Exercise More” Isn’t The Answer For Weight Loss

  1. The quality and type of your calories definitely matter. Good article explaining that. If you haven’t watched Ludwig’s presentation entitled “Sugar: The Bitter Truth” he does a great job explaining the correlation between sugar intake and the rise in obesity and the many chronic diseases we have today. A must watch on YouTube!

  2. Reblogged this on Simple Living Over 50 and commented:
    And yet another reason to eat from nature.

  3. I have watched “Sugar: The Bitter Truth” and it is really eye opening. Suffering from type II diabetes I have learned a great deal about the negatives of sugar, refined carbs and the importance of eating quality food.

  4. Great article. Nice to hear truth. A calorie is not a calorie. There are so many other factors when it comes to metabolism and weight management. It amazes me that there are still so many calorie-counting tools out there, which now includes apps.

  5. I have lost almost 50 pounds in the past year–1/3 of my current weight! I did not increase my exercise–I would say I have a fairly light activity level. I did it by changing my oil–I believe that oil change resulted in significant changes in the hormones that control appetite and satiety. I have increased my intake of fruits and veggies and reduced my intake of grain based carbs. Weight loss was not the only benefit–I was able to stop taking 5 different medications–for arthritis (I had been on for over 35 years),blood pressure, heart rhythm, a statin, and pain. The results inspired me to write a book–The Oil-Change Diet. I feel satisfied with a diet of 1200 to 1500 calories a day including snacks.

  6. Reblogged this on Saving My Life: Breaking The Yo-Yo and commented:
    This is a great article and I totally agree with what it says simply from my own experiences of weight loss and gain and diet

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