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Roy Janik

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diet vs exercise [Jan. 29th, 2007|11:45 am]
Roy Janik

Check this out:

CNN: Diet, Exercise Take off Equal Pounds, study finds

Nothing terribly shocking about that headline, but look at the "story highlights":

• Eating less, exercising more equally good at helping take off pounds, study finds
• Research adds to evidence that adding muscle mass does not boost metabolism
• Dieting alone also did not appear to cause loss of muscle mass along with fat

The second and third bullets pretty much fly in the face of what everyone's been saying for as long as I recall.

"'There is a concept that if you exercise, you are going to lose less of your muscle,' he said. But his team found no evidence this is true."

The text of the article more or less agrees with the basics of the Hacker's Diet. A calorie is a calorie, and the secret to weight loss is simply in maintaining a deficit of calories over time. That is, burn more than you take in.

The study still agrees that for best health, a combination of exercise and dieting might be the way to go. It's just that some of our assumptions might be wrong.


[User Picture]From: rachaeldoss
2007-01-29 06:00 pm (UTC)

I went to a health talk last Thursday sponsored by the little program that I joined to help me get my ass to the gym, and they TOTALLY said you have to do both in order to have the best effects and that adding muscle mass WOULD boost your metabolism to the tune of up to 4 extra calories burned per hour.

Oh well. I am wanting muscle tone, so I'll still work out, but damn, that makes things seem less worth it :-/
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[User Picture]From: jerseytude
2007-01-29 06:14 pm (UTC)
Roy - going to really try REALLY try to do the "less calorie" thing starting Feb 1st.

I'm glad to know this - takes some of the pressure off. Thanks for linking.
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From: shannonlucas
2007-01-29 06:50 pm (UTC)
Reuters is taking some liberties with the research here. The conclusions reached in the actual paper are not the ones that Reuters has published. Note that this study was only six months long and that Ravussin's area of expertise is the aging process and the effect of exercise and diet on that.

The abstract to the research paper CNN refers to is here:

Previous research by Ravussin and others bound that muscle metabolism does indeed have an effect on resting energy expenditure:

Be wary of any "scientific" data published on the major news wires. The articles are rarely written by people with a scientific or research background, and sensationalism sells better than dull facts.
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From: deroosisonfire
2007-01-29 07:03 pm (UTC)
i think a lot of the "general knowledge" about diet and exercise is going to change in the near future.

anecdotally, i think they missed at least one effect due to their experimental design. the volunteers were fed prepared meals by the university. i know that in real life when i am exercising more i want to eat healthier food and i want to eat less of it. i make better diet choices when i exercise. by removing choice from the experiment they missed the opportunity to pick up on this effect. (that said, their design did allow them to test what they wanted to test. lots of these studies tell volunteers to eat certain diets, but rely on self-reporting for what was actually eaten. it has been found that people under report by about 1/3.)

i liked this article from the ny times about western diets and they are so messed up. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/28/magazine/28nutritionism.t.html?ref=health
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[User Picture]From: ms_goose_says
2007-01-29 09:30 pm (UTC)
American diets are kind of f'd up. I have these older friends who went completely raw and lost about 20 pounds each, they look great the whole shebang. Of course they spend about a quarter of their day preparing the raw foods which is a bit complicated though I suppose once you get used to it its not so bad.
I try to eat 75% vegetables/fruits and of that I probably manage to get about half of that raw.
Its a modern world and we have to live in it so pizza is fair game.
Americans are fixated on their food though and especially fixated on getting to eat their fat free carb free processed cake too.
Everyone's body and metabolism is different and as we age it changes and all that. I know I have to be far more careful now that I'm over 35 and have had the kids.
My rules:
Eat well and with pleasure. Exercise well and with vigor.
Eat as much raw and fresh produce as I can to balance out the meats and noodles I like to consume. NO SODA's! NONE! That crap is horrible for you.
Other than that I try not to worry about it.
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[User Picture]From: g0_0n
2007-01-29 11:17 pm (UTC)
So, 35 overweight people loss an average of 15-20lbs or so in 6 months. Probably not enough of a loss to cut into muscle tissue anyway. That amount of weight lost by an oveweight person would bring them to an ideal state. So why does reuters try to capitalize on the fact that dieting without excersizing as if it was contradicted by this study? It seems really really vital to mention the participants starting situation.

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[User Picture]From: dameaux
2007-01-30 02:37 am (UTC)
My strategy is to eat well for my weight, and exercise for my heart and for my mental well being. It feels much better than "damn I've got to run another mile to burn another xx calories and lose yy pounds!" It's more like, "I think I'll run another mile to make my body a bit stronger." And when your body is stronger, it really affects your daily mood.
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