We’ve Been SO Wrong About Exercise, Metabolism & Weight Loss! | Herman Pontzer, PhD

EPISODE 96 | Herman Pontzer, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology and Research Associate Professor of Global Health at Duke University, investigates how our species’ evolutionary past shapes our lives today. His team conducted the first measurements of daily energy expenditure in traditional hunter-gatherers and in non-human apes, with findings that have challenged the way we think about diet, exercise, metabolism, and health. Dr. Pontzer’s new book, Burn: New Research Blows the Lid Off How We Really Burn Calories, Lose Weight, and Stay Healthy, was published in March, 2021. In the episode, he shares why “eat less, exercise more” is flawed advice for fat loss, what we should be relying on BESIDES exercise for weight loss and maintenance, a new-and-improved tv show structure that’d work better than The Biggest Loser…and more! Enjoy!!

EPISODE WEBPAGE: thehealthinvestment.com/96

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  • What’s your background? (Specifically, how did you become interested in studying human evolution? Energy expenditure?)
  • What does “energy expenditure” mean? How is it similar or different from metabolism?
  • How much does energy expenditure differ, human to human?
  • Is it possible to get a “higher” or “boosted” caloric expenditure?
  • Can you explain how our metabolism “adjusts,” making it tougher to lose weight over time?
  • What do we have right about energy expenditure? About metabolism? What do we have wrong?
  • What do we have right about exercise? What do we have wrong?
  • I know you say exercise is more critical for weight maintenance than it is for weight loss. Can you explain that?
  • You include a section in your book about the issues with the tv show The Biggest Loser. If you could create a new-and-improved show about weight loss, what would it look like?
  • Do diets like keto and paleo work? (Or, do parts of them work?)
  • What’s your recommended strategy for weight loss?
  • Aside from your takeaways on energy expenditure, what are some other lessons we can learn from hunter-gatherer communities like the Hadza?




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