Sunday, September 24th, 2017

Is Cutting Calories Sufficient for Weight Loss?


I just love it when we get compared to primates!

A study was reported in the Sydney Morning Herald suggesting that cutting our calories in order to lose weight would only result in an automatic reduction in our exercise output, meaning that we would maintain weight. And, why did they draw that conclusion? Because that’s what happened in an experiment with 18 female rhesus monkeys!

Basically, we shouldn’t believe everything we read. Because it happens to monkeys does not mean it will happen to us. Monkeys are primates, we are humans. And, before telling humans something completely unhelpful like ‘cutting calories doesn’t result in weight loss’ they should replicate the study on humans before releasing it in the media. Better still, they should read the research literature on humans, which unequivocally proves that cutting calories DOES result in weight loss.

Like it or lump it, weight loss is a maths equation, albeit a very complex one because it is moderated by our minds, and our minds are not always rational. We eat when we are not hungry and don’t stop eating when we are full. We get fat as a result, and even though we don’t like the extra fat, we don’t change our behaviour.

Unlike humans, animals in the wild don’t gain excessive weight and become overweight and obese. When they kill their prey and sit down to dine on the spoils they stop eating when they are full and wander away. They maintain a homeostatic weight, or a perfect weight for their frame. No wonder the monkeys in the experiment automatically reduced their activity output when their calorie intake was dropped. That is what they are designed to do, to maintain weight homeostasis.

Humans unfortunately have the facility to take appetite and weight control into their own hands and make conscious decisions about how much they will eat and exercise. More unfortunately, most humans don’t always make the best food and exercise decisions and put on more weight than they want.

So, what’s the moral of this story:

a) don’t read everything you read

b) manage your mind to get the body and life you want

Photo credit:  iStockphoto
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