Jump to content
STENDEC

The Exercise Paradox

Recommended Posts

Eat less and move more...weight loss is just that simple right? Our bodyweight is largely determined by the delicate balance of calories in and calories out...burn 3500kcal extra and you will be a pound lighter right?

 

The advent of the calorimeter on exercise machines was one of the things that made me suspect this sloth and gluttony theory of obesity was wrong, or at least incomplete. These are the little read-outs that estimate how many calories you have expended on the treadmill, stairmaster or rowing machine. A half-hour of jogging or fairly intense rowing will consume about 350kcal which seems like a lot until you realize that this is an expenditure that will be instantly reversed by eating just 25 tortilla chips, a few ounces of nuts or a 3oz slice of cake.

 

It seemed impossible to me that one could actually 'burn off' enough calories via exercise to lose weight unless one was also a diet nazi or a marathon runner. And really vigorous exercise, like skiing, mountain climbing or long distance swimming always left me absolutely famished so I was having a lot of trouble reconciling the sloth part of the conventional wisdom theory of obesity...exercise was substantially less efficient at expending calories than eating was at adding them back and really vigorous exercise, the kind that might really cut into my calorie balance, left me so hungry that 'dieting' was exceedingly difficult.

 

Then I watched a NOVA episode where they took a bunch of fairly sedentary normal folks and trained them for a marathon. While all of them got to be better runners, one of the odd things about adding all of this training to the lives of normal people was, they did not loose very much weight, despite running 70-100 miles/week. This seemed impossible to me. How could these people exercise this much and not get slimmer?

 

Turns out, this is not unusual. Science has so far been fairly unsuccessful at demonstrating that if you make people exercise, they will get thinner, despite a lot of trying. The advice from experts that we add 20-30 min of vigorous exercise several days per week to our lives to keep us from getting fat is based on...nothing.

 

Recently, I re-read a NYT article by science writer and sloth-and-gluttony theory critic Gary Taubes. I think it does a pretty good job of summing up the state of the science of exercise and weight loss.

 

http://nymag.com/news/sports/38001/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of the most perplexing things about a group of dedicated runners, I mean people who run daily an participate in 5k or 10k runs on the weekend. 2/3 look like your typical runner, thin very little fat. And then there is the other 1/3 is fat. Pudgy and there is the one guy who looks pregnant.

 

So definitely more than calories in vs out

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Exercise, or lack thereof, may impact the expression of obesity related genes...

 

 

Walking May Lessen the Influence of Genes On Obesity by Half

 

ScienceDaily (Mar. 14, 2012) — Watching too much TV can worsen your genetic tendency towards obesity, but you can cut the effect in half by walking briskly for an hour a day, researchers report at the American Heart Association's Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism 2012 Scientific Sessions.

 

"While previous studies have looked at how physical activity affects genetic predispositions, this is the first study that directly looked at the effect of the sedentary behavior of television watching on the body mass index (BMI) of individuals with a genetic predisposition to obesity," said Qibin Qi, Ph.D., study author and a post doctorate research fellow in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Mass.

 

"In our study, a brisk one-hour daily walk reduced the genetic influence towards obesity, measured by differences in BMI by half. On the other hand, a sedentary lifestyle marked by watching television four hours a day increased the genetic influence by 50 percent."

 

The study included 7,740 women and 4,564 men from the Nurses' Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Researchers collected data on physical activity and TV watching two years prior to assessing BMI.

 

BMI is the ratio of weight in kilograms to square of height in meters; a score of 30 or more is obese.

 

The researchers calculated a genetic predisposition score based on 32 established BMI-predisposing genetic variants. The effect of genes on obesity was measured by differences in BMI per point of the genetic predisposition score, corresponding to each BMI-increasing gene.

 

Each BMI-increasing gene was associated with 0.13 kilograms/meter squared (kg/m2) in BMI. That effect was reduced in people in the highest level of physical activity compared to those in the lowest, 0.08 versus 0.15 kg/m2. The genetic effect on BMI was more pronounced in people who spent 40 hours a week watching television than those who spent an hour or less, 0.34 versus 0.08 kg/m2.

 

The equivalent of brisk walking one hour a day was associated with a 0.06 kg/m2 reduction in the genetic effect on BMI and each two-hour-a-day increment in television watching was associated with 0.03 kg/m2 increase in genetic effect on BMI.

 

Gene testing for obesity is not available to the general public yet, and Qi advised physicians to ask patients about a family history of obesity.

 

The average American watches television about four to six hours a day, he said.

 

How the function of these genes affect BMI isn't clear, Qi said. "These genes were just identified in the past five years and the exact functions of the genetic variants are still unknown. Future studies will be needed to uncover the underlying mechanisms."

 

Co-authors are Yanping Li, Ph.D.; Andrea K. Chomistek, Sc.D.; Jae Hee Kang, Sc.D.; Gary Curhan, M.D., Sc.D.; Louis R. Pasquale, M.D.; Walter Willett, M.D.; Eric B. Rimm, Sc.D.; Frank B. Hu, M.D., Ph.D.; and Lu Qi, M.D., Ph.D. Author disclosures are on the abstract. The National Institutes of Health funded the study.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Calories in vs calories out might not look like it works in a relatively open system... but it does work.

People training for a marathon increase their intake. It's that simple.

 

What is frequently confused 'round these parts (or these parts' humble roots, rather) is that the "recommendation" to decrease intake and increase expenditure just doesn't work, and the report from an individual that they have decreased intake and increased expenditure is simply not reliable.

 

But when you put people in a big glass tube and record every kcal that they expend and every morsel that they stuff in their face... it comes down to input vs expenditure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But when you put people in a big glass tube and record every kcal that they expend and every morsel that they stuff in their face... it comes down to input vs expenditure.

 

Agreed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is what I wrote over at Free the Animal fairly recently regarding this:

 

"Instead of viewing this as “either/or”, which so many are when it comes to this stuff, I’d suggest it’s in fact “all of them.”

 

Body composition is a function of calories and training; hormone drives are influenced by the quality of the diet and the propensity of neolithic agents of disease; reducing carbohydrate levels (lower but not “low-carb”) increases lipolysis by way of insulin reduction, thus energy needs are being increasingly met by lipid fuel sources (fatty acid and ketones); foods that have low reward help move us toward an appropriate body composition more easily than high reward foods because you’ll eat less to satiety.

 

These all matter and everyone who has a pet theory is arguing like it exists in a vacuum. It’s like arguing with leg of the table is most important: depending on circumstances one may matter more but isn’t the only factor at play, not by a long shot.

 

Remember: calories count. Anyone who says you “don’t have to count calories” ends up tricking you into doing it anyway, either by biochemical means, tracking, or macronutrient elimination. We’re not magical in that we can burn more than we consume and stay fat; otherwise we could hook the obese people who claim this up to machines ala the matrix and solve our energy crisis.

 

Wouldn’t you rather stack the deck in your favor biochemically to be satisfied on less food, understanding that a good body composition is going to have the greatest effect on health outcomes regarding diseases of civilization, than have to track everything?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Remember: calories count. Anyone who says you “don’t have to count calories” ends up tricking you into doing it anyway, either by biochemical means, tracking, or macronutrient elimination. We’re not magical in that we can burn more than we consume and stay fat; otherwise we could hook the obese people who claim this up to machines ala the matrix and solve our energy crisis.

 

This is a false dichotomy. Only because calories don't count doesn't mean that you can triple your food intake without consequences. But humans are not bomb calorimeters.

 

There are SO many problems with "calories", I don't even know were to start. The whole energy in/energy out equation and energy deficits to lose weight are proofs by tautology. Hand waving exercises. They are true, of course, but practically useless.

The human body doesn't exist in a thermal equilibrium, it is capable of significant mass flows (respiration), it is capable of sequestering entropy (protein synthesis).. If you eat more than you burn, nothing tells you were and if you store this energy. You could store it in adipose tissue, you could bleed it off by dilating the blood vessels under your skin, you could build some muscle, shivering and random muscle twitches, you could spontaneously start to move more..

But one can't even know for sure how much energy one consumes: Cooking methods influence this, and feces also have a significant amount of calories left in them. Unless you burn your poop in a lab, you don't know how much energy you actually absorbed.

 

Or another angle. How do you get fat? By eating too much. How do you know you eat to much? You get fat. Circular definitions all around. And "food reward" ties in their too. Why do you eat too much? Because your food is too rewarding. How do you know that the food you eat is too rewarding? You eat too much of it.

 

And of course, energy in and energy out aren't unrelated, they are dependant on each other. If you eat more, you're going to burn more, if you eat less, you're going to burn less.. It works the other way around too. You usually compensate the energy lost through exercising by eating more. (Unless you go for exercise induced anorexia, which exists..)

The relationship isn't neccesarily linear, but still, its there.

 

Ok, enough ranting for now..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This is a false dichotomy. Only because calories don't count doesn't mean that you can triple your food intake without consequences. But humans are not bomb calorimeters.

 

There are SO many problems with "calories", I don't even know were to start. The whole energy in/energy out equation and energy deficits to lose weight are proofs by tautology. Hand waving exercises. They are true, of course, but practically useless.

The human body doesn't exist in a thermal equilibrium, it is capable of significant mass flows (respiration), it is capable of sequestering entropy (protein synthesis).. If you eat more than you burn, nothing tells you were and if you store this energy. You could store it in adipose tissue, you could bleed it off by dilating the blood vessels under your skin, you could build some muscle, shivering and random muscle twitches, you could spontaneously start to move more..

But one can't even know for sure how much energy one consumes: Cooking methods influence this, and feces also have a significant amount of calories left in them. Unless you burn your poop in a lab, you don't know how much energy you actually absorbed.

 

Or another angle. How do you get fat? By eating too much. How do you know you eat to much? You get fat. Circular definitions all around. And "food reward" ties in their too. Why do you eat too much? Because your food is too rewarding. How do you know that the food you eat is too rewarding? You eat too much of it.

 

And of course, energy in and energy out aren't unrelated, they are dependant on each other. If you eat more, you're going to burn more, if you eat less, you're going to burn less.. It works the other way around too. You usually compensate the energy lost through exercising by eating more. (Unless you go for exercise induced anorexia, which exists..)

The relationship isn't neccesarily linear, but still, its there.

 

Ok, enough ranting for now..

 

You picked one piece out of what I wrote and ignored everything that I wrote that basically agreed with you?

 

Nobody is saying that the hormonal consequences of what we eat don't matter, which is the reason everyone in the strength training community has increased protein during diets (TEF, LBM preservation, etc.). Of course they also had to reduce their calories because total energy intake - energy expenditure determines direction of weight (generally, in humans that are otherwise healthy [i.e. don't drag type I diabetics into this]). The availability of calories via cooking methods does change but I've not seen anything to indicate that it changes by a factor of 2 or 3; a few percentage up or down in an otherwise deficient state is not going to make much of a difference.

 

Food reward must be taken into account and the newer studies provide evidence for the statement "there's always room for dessert" and that certain foods have a lower reward (not "are liked less") thus satiety is reached sooner. Hence the "eat real whole minimally processed foods" direction when on a diet.

 

Certainly the more you eat the more you burn but TEF is only 10% of energy burn, so you're still getting 90% net calories from whatever you're overeating (save for rabbit starvation, again a unique circumstance beyond the scope of what we're discussing). And the eating less = less burn = lower metabolism = weight stall is taken into account which is where you get the people adding weight via vests to keep metabolic effect of daily activities elevated. Crude but effective.

 

Again I don't disagree with most anything you said but to imply that calories are worthless ignores 60 years of contest-ready bodybuilders who had to reduce calories to get lean. Take the amount and pair it with improved hormonal science, improved food quality, food reward, favorable macro splits, and consistent habitual activity that supplies intrinsic reward, and you end up with a leaner society. So...basically a culture change!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is interesting. Three groups of overweight women on a PSMF type diet. One group diet only, one diet plus cardio, one diet plus weights and they all lost weight and fat at about the same rate of 90g and 80g per day respectively. IOW, three days a week of exercise did essentially nothing to improve weight or fat loss while dieting.

 

No reliance on food journals for this one, double labeled water to determine intake.

 

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2009 May;94(5):1602-7. Epub 2009 Mar 3.

Effect of dietary adherence with or without exercise on weight loss: a mechanistic approach to a global problem.

Del Corral P, Chandler-Laney PC, Casazza K, Gower BA, Hunter GR.

Source

 

Department of Nutrition Sciences, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama 35294-3360, USA. corralp@uab.edu

Abstract

CONTEXT:

 

Weight loss using low-calorie diets produces variable results, presumably due to a wide range of energy deficits and low-dietary adherence.

OBJECTIVE:

 

Our objective was to quantify the relationship between dietary adherence, weight loss, and severity of caloric restriction.

DESIGN AND SETTING:

 

Participants were randomized to diet only, diet-endurance training, or diet-resistance training until body mass index (BMI) was less than 25 kg/m(2).

PARTICIPANTS:

 

Healthy overweight (BMI 27-30) premenopausal women (n = 141) were included in the study. Interventions: An 800-kcal/d(-1) diet was provided, and the exercise groups were engaged in three sessions per week.

MAIN OUTCOMES:

 

Dietary adherence, calculated from total energy expenditure determined by doubly labeled water measurements and dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry body composition changes, and degree of caloric restriction were determined.

RESULTS:

 

All groups had similar weight loss (approximately 12.1 +/- 2.5 kg) and length of time to reach target BMI (approximately 158 +/- 70 d). Caloric restriction averaged 59 +/- 9%, and adherence to diet was 73 +/- 34%. Adherence to diet was inversely associated to days to reach target BMI (r = -0.687; P

CONCLUSIONS:

 

Dietary adherence is strongly associated with rates of weight loss and adversely affected by the severity of caloric restriction. Weight loss programs should consider moderate caloric restriction relative to estimates of energy requirements, rather than generic low-calorie diets.

 

PMID: 19258409

 

 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2684471/?tool=pubmed

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had an even better one in the news yesterday > http://suppversity.blogspot.de/2012/08/some-hiit-for-life-less-liss-for-more.html

 

here is a snippet

 

How to Burn 27,300 Kcal Extra W/out Losing a Single Extra Pound of Fat!

 

[...]Over the course of 13 weeks, the participants took part in three supervised exercise sessions per week, which had to be performed at an average heart rate of >70% of their predetermined maximal heart rate. On the other four days they were free to engage in whatever physical activity they wanted, but had to wear a heart rate monitor that would allow them to decide, when they had fulfilled their daily 300kcal/day (MEDIUM) or 600kcal/day (HIGH) exercise dept. The log-files of the heart rate monitors were deliberately analyzed by the scientists every on a weekly basis, missed sessions had to be made good for and repeated non-compliance was penalized with immediate exclusion from the trial. Effectively, the guys in the HIGH dose arm of the study simply exercised longer at the same ~66-67% of their VO2Max on the mean 6.2 "workout days" both groups had in common.

 

Contrary to what the scientists, who totally relied on their (stupid) calories in vs. calories out calculations, had expected these longer workouts and the associated increase in exercise induced energy expenditure did not result in either greater weight or fat loss in the highly compliant participants of the HIGH dose exercise group (compliance: 96% vs. 99% in the HIGH and MODERATE arms, respectively; statistically this difference was not significant).

 

a.JPG

Figure 3: Changes in body weight and fat mass (left) and "real" (=calculated based on weight loss) energy deficit the subjects accumulated over the 13-week study period (data based on Rosenkilde. 2012)

 

If you take a closer look at the data in figure 3 you will even realize that the 30 subjects who had initially been randomized to the MODERATE dose arm of the study and should thus expended ~27,300kcal less than their peers in the HIGH dose arm when the final measurements were taken, had lost slightly more total and fat weight than their harder training counterparts. [...]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And let's not forget your Iranian HIIT participants who engaged in an intense, progressive regimen for 12wks and saw dramatic metabolic changes with almost no change in BW.

 

a.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
And let's not forget your Iranian HIIT participants who engaged in an intense, progressive regimen for 12wks and saw dramatic metabolic changes with almost no change in BW.

 

a.JPG

 

right... makes you think whether mankind would not be healthier if the scale had not been invented ... another of those neolithic plagues *rofl*

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great post.

 

Can we develop a BLUF?

 

Thats Bottom Line Upfront.

 

So we see its not calories in/out. Can we develop a general plan for macros, exercise protocol,etc that maximizes what we do know.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

BLUF is that weight loss is all about diet.

 

Exercise will help maintain LBM while dieting, and conveys other benefits, but will not cut weight or fat any faster than sitting on your hands.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah pretty much what I thought.....but can we all agree on the breakdown of that diet?

 

Found this...its obvious...but interesting...

 

 

Obes Res. 2005 Apr;13(4):703-9.

Insulin sensitivity determines the effectiveness of dietary macronutrient composition on weight loss in obese women.

Cornier MA, Donahoo WT, Pereira R, Gurevich I, Westergren R, Enerback S, Eckel PJ, Goalstone ML, Hill JO, Eckel RH, Draznin B.

SourceDepartment of Medicine, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, CO, USA.

 

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether macronutrient composition of a hypocaloric diet can enhance its effectiveness and whether insulin sensitivity (Si) affects the response to hypocaloric diets.

 

RESEARCH METHODS AND PROCEDURES: Obese nondiabetic insulin-sensitive (fasting insulin < 10 microU/mL; n = 12) and obese nondiabetic insulin-resistant (fasting insulin > 15 microU/mL; n = 9) women (23 to 53 years old) were randomized to either a high carbohydrate (CHO) (HC)/low fat (LF) (60% CHO, 20% fat) or low CHO (LC)/high fat (HF) (40% CHO, 40% fat) hypocaloric diet. Primary outcome measures after a 16-week dietary intervention were: changes in body weight (BW), Si, resting metabolic rate, and fasting lipids.

 

RESULTS: Insulin-sensitive women on the HC/LF diet lost 13.5 +/- 1.2% (p < 0.001) of their initial BW, whereas those on the LC/HF diet lost 6.8 +/- 1.2% (p < 0.001; p < 0.002 between the groups). In contrast, among the insulin-resistant women, those on the LC/HF diet lost 13.4 +/- 1.3% (p < 0.001) of their initial BW as compared with 8.5 +/- 1.4% (p < 0.001) lost by those on the HC/LF diet (p < 0.04 between two groups). These differences could not be explained by changes in resting metabolic rate, activity, or intake. Overall, changes in Si were associated with the degree of weight loss (r = -0.57, p < 0.05).

 

DISCUSSION: The state of Si determines the effectiveness of macronutrient composition of hypocaloric diets in obese women. For maximal benefit, the macronutrient composition of a hypocaloric diet may need to be adjusted to correspond to the state of Si.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yeah pretty much what I thought.....but can we all agree on the breakdown of that diet?

 

Long term, it doesn't really matter.

 

For rapid weight loss, PSMF or VLCD is the clear choice but by 12 months, any calorie restricted diet will yield similar results.

 

The best diet is the one you can stick to.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Long term, it doesn't really matter.

 

For rapid weight loss, PSMF or VLCD is the clear choice but by 12 months, any calorie restricted diet will yield similar results.

 

The best diet is the one you can stick to.

 

Could we also say that in regards to muscle retention? It was my impression keto was slightly better for muscle sparing....or is that only in nonathlete types?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
In what world is a diet with 40% carbs low carb? How can it be high or low anything if carbs and fat are both at 40%?

 

I assume tis due to the recommendation of 60-70 percent carbs of the normal type diets, it slow in comparison.

 

But I agree.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Could we also say that in regards to muscle retention? It was my impression keto was slightly better for muscle sparing....or is that only in nonathlete types?

 

A high protein KD would be better for sparing LBM while dieting but you can also have a HFKD that would probably not provide much muscle protection...one of the reasons to exercise while dieting is not because the exercise will do much to improve weight loss but it will help preserve LBM and shift losses towards fat.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
A high protein KD would be better for sparing LBM while dieting but you can also have a HFKD that would probably not provide much muscle protection...one of the reasons to exercise while dieting is not because the exercise will do much to improve weight loss but it will help preserve LBM and shift losses towards fat.

 

I honestly doubt the validity of the lean mass hypothesis. I agree that exercise appears to be what can prevent what I like to call "metabolic shutdown", but the correlation with lean mass is almost non-existent; there must be another factor involved here

 

here is btw. an interesting recent paper

Int J Obes (Lond). 2012 Jul 31. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2012.124. [Epub ahead of print]

Adaptive thermogenesis can make a difference in the ability of obese individuals to lose body weight.

Tremblay A, Royer MM, Chaput JP, Doucet E.

Source

 

Department of Kinesiology, PEPS, Laval University, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

Abstract

 

The decrease in energy expenditure that occurs during weight loss is a process that attenuates over time the impact of a restrictive diet on energy balance up to a point beyond which no further weight loss seems to be possible. For some health professionals, such a diminished energy expenditure is the normal consequence of a progressive decrease in the motivation to exercise over the course of a weight-reducing program. Another explanation of decreased energy needs during weight loss is the decrease in body energy stores (that is, fat mass and muscle mass) and its related obligatory costs of living. Many studies have also documented the existence of adaptive thermogenesis in the context of weight loss, which represents a greater-than-predicted decrease in energy expenditure. In this paper, we pursue the analysis of this phenomenon by demonstrating that an adaptive decrease in thermogenesis can have a major role in the occurrence of resistance to further lose fat in weight-reduced obese individuals. Evidence is also presented to support the idea of greater hunger sensations in individuals displaying more pronounced thermogenic changes. Finally, as the decrease in thermogenesis persists over time, it is also likely associated with a greater predisposition to body-weight regain after weight loss. Globally, these observations suggest that the adaptive reduction in thermogenesis that accompanies a prolonged negative energy balance is a major determinant of the ability to spontaneously lose body fat.International Journal of Obesity advance online publication, 31 July 2012; doi:10.1038/ijo.2012.124.

I have tried to find studies comparing the body cell mass instead of the lean mass with the change energy expenditure but could not find more than a few mini-studies (did not search extensively, as of yet, though)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Evidence for the LBM preserving effect of exercise while dieting is right in Table 2.

 

Screen_Shot_2012_08_10_at_6_32_44_AM.png

 

Participants who were dieting only were losing FFM at a rate of almost 10g/day while those doing cardio were losing it at only 2g/day and those engaged in RE during the experiment were actually gaining FFM at almost 3g/day...and this makes sense as muscle is metabolically expensive tissue and will be the first to go during starvation unless your body thinks you need to keep it...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Evidence for the LBM preserving effect of exercise while dieting is right in Table 2.

 

Screen_Shot_2012_08_10_at_6_32_44_AM.png

 

Participants who were dieting only were losing FFM at a rate of almost 10g/day while those doing cardio were losing it at only 2g/day and those engaged in RE during the experiment were actually gaining FFM at almost 3g/day...and this makes sense as muscle is metabolically expensive tissue and will be the first to go during starvation unless your body thinks you need to keep it...

I did not say the evidence was not there that if you lose muscle you shut down your metabolism even further... it's just that the correlation between loss in LBM and decrease in REE is hilariously low, i.e. in the R=0.3-0.4 range max

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...