Saturday, November 20, 2010

Calories In, Calories Out

A professor ate almost nothing but Twinkies and the like for several months, and wound up losing weight and improving his cholesterol. The key was that he ate a very controlled amount of Twinkies, a lower calorie intake than he had been at previously. This is totally un-surprising to me--calories in, calories out. At least in terms of weight, the total number of calories matters FAR more than the source. This is really basic science and, to me, the fact that so many people are so willing to believe in fad diets[1] is yet another example of the insidious effects of scientific illiteracy.

I tend to think the same way about exercise...for all but the most serious competitive athletes, I think the more calories burned, the better. Little to be gained by worrying about what zone you are in--other than trying to get in the highest zone you can manage, for whatever amount of time you have budgeted to exercise. Though I am somewhat more open to being wrong about this one, because there does seem to be research to support the idea of Fartlek/Interval training's benefits (fitness, more than weight loss, but that's the important thing anyway).

[1] Actually, you could just about extend this comment to "any diet at all", since the evidence is that yo-yo dieting is worse than never losing the weight in the first place.

1 comment:

  1. Here, here. Losing weight is SIMPLE, not easy but SIMPLE. Eat less, exercise more, eat less exercise more until you get to your desired weight.