Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Exercise is still not the answer

The media's a-buzz with reports out of Amish country that our "fat genes" can be beaten but that it's gonna take 3-4 hours of activity a day to beat them!

They're reporting on a study that 705 Amish who were then investigated for the possession of a gene known to be involved in obesity.

The study found that of those folks possessing two copies of the FTO gene, if they were active for 3-4 hours a day they were a whole 15lbs lighter than the least active folks.

Basically this study confirms what I've been saying over and over again - the amount of exercise necessary to dramatically affect weight is in an of itself exceedingly dramatic.

Good news?

Not really, not even for the Amish, as here we have a study that says even if you exercise 3-4 hours a day more than your sedentary buddy that's only going to make you 15lbs lighter than they are once the barns are built.

My advice?

As always, as far as energy balance goes I'd stack my chips on energy-in.

(That said, given the incredible splash in the press I wonder who's going to be the first to open a residential, "Live like the Amish" weight loss program?)

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  1. Well, depending on how MUCH overweight a person is, 15 pounds can make a LOT of difference! I honestly believe that it's the combination of both - energy IN and energy OUT that makes a difference. It's real easy to out-eat your exercise, so it's important to eat the right foods in the right amounts as well.

  2. Anonymous11:53 am

    From what I understand of the Amish, their diets are generally based on whole, minimally processed foods. Also, they are a lot more active in just daily living than other North Americans are. It is the combination of both of those things that makes them lighter, I believe. I don't think you can take exercise out of the equation, but I do know that most people vastly overestimate how much energy they are expending in a gym or any other structured exercise program. We need to be more active in daily living. Unfortunately our society is not set up that way. As for food, I'm a dietitian, and it is very challenging educating people on what they should eat and why. I often wonder why it is so difficult for people to realize that eating crap leads in turn to crappy health! Why do people say "Oh yeah, I know I should eat better", as they bite into their fast food lunch. And just the other day I saw an ad by corn producers saying how 'natural' high fructose corn syrup is and that it is perfectly ok in "moderation" (which is pretty hard to do when the stuff is in everything!). Anyway, it is all connected and you can't dissect out any one thing. It is quite a challenge for everyone!

  3. haha, i think you are right about the "Amish Diet" that we will probably be seeing soon!