Exercising Less Does Not Cause Long-Term Fat Gain


“It is reasonable to assume that persons with relatively high daily energy expenditures would be less likely to gain weight over time compared with those who have low energy expenditures. So far, data to support this hypothesis are not particularly compelling.” – American Heart Association

The idea that we have an obesity epidemic because people are not exercising enough is a myth. Saffron A. Whitehead at St. George’s University of London reported: “Most studies show that the obese do about the same physical activity as [the] lean.”

Common sense tells us that if exercising less is the cause of our collective weight issues, we must be collectively exercising less. Are we?

Not even close. Read more

How To Lower Your Set-Point Weight


“Set-points are not fixed.”  –R.E. Keesey, University of Wisconsin

You can stray from your set-point weight temporarily by lowering the quantity of food you eat and raising the quantity of exercise you do. Yet you cannot adjust your set-point weight itself unless you focus on changing the quality of the food and exercise. The higher the quality, the lower your set-point weight.

While this is what scientists have proven, it’s not what we’ve been told for decades. Let’s use the next couple posts to bring the facts back to fat loss and reveal how:

  • Eating less does not cause long-term fat loss.
  • Exercising more does not cause long-term fat loss.
  • Exercising less does not cause long-term fat gain.
  • Eating more does not cause long-term fat gain.

Read more

Science Sound Bite: NYTimes’ “Fat Trap,” Tara Parker-Pope, and Unclogging Sinks


Update: Let’s repurpose this post to speak to Tara Parker-Pope’s recent NYTimes post “The Fat Trap” regarding the futility of traditional fat loss methods.

Parker-Pope is exactly right that studies show eating less of the typical diet and doing more of traditional exercise does not work for the vast majority of people. However, that does not mean we need to be “trapped” by body fat. Myriad studies show that by changing the quality of one’s diet and the quality of one’s exercise (vs. quantity of eating and exercise) long-term fat loss is not only possible, but practical.

Think about trying to burn body fat after years of the traditional American diet like trying to drain water from a clogged sink. Eating less of the same quality of food is like turning down the faucet. Doing more of the same quality of exercise is like scooping out the overflowing water with a teaspoon. Both are temporary ways to deal with the symptoms of the problem (too much water in, not enough water out). Neither does anything about the root cause (a clog blocking the sink’s natural ability to automatically balance “water in” with “water out”). That is why studies show eating less and exercising more failing long term 95% of the time. Read more

Doesn’t the “Law of Thermodynamics” Prove Eating Less Burns Body Fat?


“The principle that weight gain [only depends on calorie quantity] would violate the second law of thermodynamics.” —R.D. Feinman, State University of New York

We know the traditional approach to fat loss fails 95% of the time, yet common sense seems to tell us: “If you eat less and exercise more, you must burn body fat. Anything else violates the law of thermodynamics.”

There are four laws of thermodynamics. The two that apply to burning body fat do not prove that reducing the number of calories eaten makes the body burn fat. Read more

Study Shows Up To 70% of Weight Lost by Dieting Comes from Burning Muscle


“The reduction of energy intake continues to be the basis of…weight reduction programs…[The results] are known to be poor and not long-lasting.” – George Bray, Pennington Biomedical Research Center

As we touched on last week, eating less does not create the need to burn body fat. It creates the need for the body to slow down. Contrary to popular opinion, the body hangs on to body fat. Instead, it burns muscle tissue, and that worsens the metabolic issue causing weight gain. Only as a last resort, if the body has no other option, it may also burn a bit of body fat.

Why does the body hang on to body fat and burn muscle? Read more

Study of 49,000 Women Shows Eating Less Doesn’t Burn Body Fat Effectively


“…a general public health recommendation for weight reduction through dieting cannot be supported strongly with existing data.” – D.S. Weigle, University of Washington

Occasionally when people hear about The Smarter Science of Slim they react by saying something like: “To lose weight eat less and exercise more…bottom line. I eat whatever I want and stop at 1,400 calories per day…and I’ve lost 12 pounds. A professor ate nothing but Twinkies and lost a bunch of weight because he cut calories overall…etc.”

There’s no denying that starvation causes us to lose weight in the short term. However, short-term weight loss is not our goal. Long-term fat loss and improved health are our goals. Read more

Eat Flaxseed Oil, Gain 100 Pounds?

Flaxseeds are one of the highest-quality and most SANE foods around. Their high fiber content makes them Satisfying…they fill us up quickly and keep us full for a long time. They’re completely unAgressive, and are therefore unlikely to be stored as body fat. They’re also Nutritious thanks to all the clog-clearing and fat-burning omega-3 fatty acids in them. Finally, their high fiber content makes them inEfficient…we burn a bunch of calories digesting them.

Milled flaxseeds are the best way to get flaxseed oil (thanks to all the fiber, lignans, and nutrients found in the seeds themselves), but for the point of this post let’s focus on flaxseed oil. Read more

Calories In — Calories Out Has Been Proven False and Frustrating


  • Intro: Thousands of pages of academic research prove that the three most common fat loss concepts we hear about daily (Calories In – Calories Out, A Calorie Is A Calorie, and Calories Are All That Matter) are at best misleading and at worst wrong. In this post, Jane, Beth, and Sarah show how frustrating the Calories In – Calories Out myth can be.
  • Read more