Is LC Morphing to HAES? Part VI: At Least Exercise is Healthy, Right?

This post is mostly going to focus on the Big Guy, Jimmy Moore and the LC Supreme Guru Gary Taubes.  For a very long time, Taubes has been promoting the notion that exercise is worthless for weight loss, including this article published around the time of GCBC.  In this article we find gems like:
This is not to say that there aren’t excellent reasons to be physically active, as these reports invariably point out. We might just enjoy exercise. We may increase our overall fitness; we may live longer, perhaps by reducing our risk of heart disease or diabetes; we’ll probably feel better about ourselves. (Of course, this may be purely a cultural phenomenon. It’s hard to imagine that the French, for instance, would improve their self-esteem by spending more time at the gym.) But there’s no reason to think that we will lose any significant amount of weight, and little reason to think we will prevent ourselves from gaining it.

The one thing that might be said about exercise with certainty is that it tends to makes us hungry. Maybe not immediately, but eventually. Burn more calories and the odds are very good that we’ll consume more as well. 
He's also stated that exercising tends to make us laze around more the rest of the day.

IMO, these arguments are inconsistent with improving health.  If one eats more, lazes around the rest of the day more and gains weight, how is that healthy?  Point being, while I agree that exercise does have myriad health benefits, Taubes' theories don't even support that assertion.  But let's stipulate to the notion that exercise is useless for weight loss but essential or at least beneficial for health.    Is it advocated by all these "LC is healthy" advocates?   Not very vocally.

OK let's leave aside all the closet low carb exercisers out there.  Well, not so closet, but they are almost apologetic at times in admitting to doing (shhhhhhhh) good old fashioned moderate cardio.  But the big whigs in LC seem hell bent on downplaying the impact of "moving more" on weight loss, maintenance, and not gaining in the first place.  It's sort of odd, actually, since the grand daddy of low carb himself, the "late great" Dr. Atkins, was a strong advocate of exercise in conjunction with diet for weight loss.  If memory serves, this was carried forward in The New Atkins.  And yet, these days, when a low carber advocates exercise at all, it's almost invariably some "quick", infrequent plan.  Like lifting to exhaustion for 15 seconds a month or something like that.  OK, that's an exaggeration, but I think you get my point.  Cardio has magically been transformed into a four letter word.  

Jimmy Moore just posted his commentary last year at the USDA Guidelines hearings last year in which he said that he's "not worrying about cardiovascular exercise until I fall out".  (I have a few comments on that whole thing too, but that's another post).  And he gives out irresponsible advice that weight loss is not about eating less and moving more, along with a recommendation to read WWGF.   Also in that advice he tells his dejected reader:
But checking your blood sugar, cholesterol, measurements, and other such tests are EQUALLY important. I’ve written about this stuff for nearly seven years and interviewed some of the top researchers and authors in the world at my podcast. Virtually all of them are in agreement that getting healthy is the priority and that weight loss will follow if you are pursuing those things that promote health.
Virtually all of those he interviews recognize that calories count, but Jimmy's not listening.  Even Taubes argues for the health benefits of regular exercise and he works out.  If you're looking to lower insulin levels, exercise is where it's at too!  And yet too many low carbers on discussion boards and comments on blogs and such prefer to boast about their lack of exercise.  

Yet if the focus is on getting healthy, and it's almost universally accepted that being more active is health promoting, shouldn't LLVLC include more advocacy for exercise?   Guess what?  The very same Jimmy Moore actually once did not only exercise up a storm, but advocated it to others!   In a blog post, ironically titled Exercise is an Integral Part of a Low-Carb Plan, Jimmy had the following to say (some excerpts will be indented with my commentary interspersed.
This Davenport, Iowa-based Quad City Times newspaper article laments that people have gotten away from exercise and eating right by chasing after the next great "diet" fad to come down the pike. And I agree with that premise.

With over $46 billion spent on diet products, including self-help books and specialty foods, in 2004, the "diet" industry is indeed an industry of its own. People are trying to find that magic ingredient that will help them lose weight without doing the necessary work and changes in their own life to make it happen.
I suppose this industry doesn't include Jimmy and all his low carb friends ever eager to hawk some "new" magic low carb plan, huh?   I'm really just amazed at how many already dedicated low carbers pre-ordered Why We Get Fat.  After all, Taubes said virtually nothing new in that book.  And yet as they re-dedicate again (and again and again ...) to low carb these folks do seem in search of just that magic.  How about all of  these people who will be paying to go on that LC Cruise?   You don't suppose Jimmy & Friends consider themselves part of that "diet" industry, do you?  Can we talk specialty foods?  Ummmm ... As of now, Jimmy's blog and many podcasts are sponsored by internet seller Andrew Dimino's (another significantly obese low carber) Carb Smart (who knows for how much longer if Jimmy keeps up with his blood sugar experimentation and exposes too many of these things as fraudulent, but I digress....).  If memory serves, Jimmy has his own low carb bars.  We could go on here, but six years ago,  when Jimmy was fresh off his 180 lb weight loss on Atkins, he saw things more clearly.
One of the things that was an integral part of my weight loss and has helped me keep it off is exercise. It has boosted my strength and energy and allows my body to eat more food (and, yes, that means more carbs!) without having a negative effect on my weight. Except for the few pounds of muscle weight I have developed, my weight has remained stable. And my waist size has continued to shrink!
OMG!  Excercise was INTEGRAL to weight loss.  I guess this was before someone asked him (adopt condescending drone) "haven't you ever heard of working up an appetite?"  Silly Jimmy understood calories back then ... and it was working for him.  
One excellent point from this article is they state any succesful weight loss program needs to incorporate exercise. I could not agree more. Too many people sit on their laurels and don't do any exercise. My work offers a free gym membership and only a handful of us use it.
Okay, towards the end of the article, a fitness representative redeems this story by stating: "If your diet and exercise is not something you can do forever, it is not a lifestyle change and you will not likely be successful. We’ve had people lose 40, 50, 60 pounds by just finding balance with daily walking and eating healthier foods."
EXCELLENT! That is well-stated and can be applied to low-carb, too! Just get your body moving and you will notice how much your life will change dramatically. It REALLY will!
Hear that?  Get off your duff, wipe your moist dreamy eyes off and *move it*!!   I'm not done with the "old Jimmy" or shall we call him the Slimmer Jimmer.  Later in 2005 (October), Jimmy cyber-penned a blog post entitled:  Just 30 Minutes of Daily Exercise Needed for Heart Health and Fitness, Study Shows.  I wonder what the Jimmy Moore of 2011 would think of that very same study were he to read it today.  No doubt the authors would be called idiots, hopelessly mired in misguided dogma.  In that post we learn that:
A new study shows that exercising a minimum of 120 to 200 minutes each week at a moderate intensity will improve your fitness and cut your chances of getting cardiovascular disease. If you are livin' la vida low-carb and wanting to kickstart your weight loss into high speed, then this kind of exercise is exactly what you need to be doing in combination with your low-carb way of eating to burn more fat and build more muscle.
But won't it just make you ravenous?
Duscha added that this new data from his study will take away the excuses many people give for not exercising as they should.
"People find exercise ‘hard’ and few people want to exercise at an intensity higher than they have to," Duscha maintained. "Walking briskly for 12 miles a week per week is realistic and does not require anyone to incorporate a hardcore training regimen. Increasing your mileage or intensity will give you even greater health benefits.”
People should exercise?!  Slimmer Jimmer was also wiser IMO.

Interestingly, the average weight loss was less than three pounds each after exercise which Duscha said presents a frustrating set of circumstances for people trying to lose weight.
“A second very important message is that subjects enjoyed fitness benefits in the absence of weight loss. Many people exercise with the purpose of losing weight. When they do not lose weight, they do not think the exercise is benefiting them and they stop exercising,” Duscha remarked.
But Duscha said it is more important to improve your heart health than to worry about the scale not moving.
So, I would ask again.  Shouldn't exercise be promoted by the LLVLC crowd as they promote their healthy low carb lifestyles?  Especially those who remain overweight/obese?  Remember Jimmy's advice to that reader about health being a priority?  And since the participants in this study didn't lose a lot of weight there's not much point to exercising for weight loss.  Well, some more words from Slimmer Jimmer himself:
I know the exercise I have done in combination with my low-carb lifestyle is what has helped me drop my body fat percentage down to 11 percent from a starting point of a whopping 50 percent! There's no way I could have ever done that and lose 180 pounds like I did without the help of exercise. I wrote a whole chapter on exercise in my book because it is such an integral part of livin' la vida low-carb....
... As I have always said myself, the researchers recommend you take it easy at first with a fun activity you enjoy and work your way up. Nobody's expecting you to run a marathon race at the very start, but get that heart rate up and sweat a little....
...As much as I like to credit my low-carb lifestyle for the radical transformation that took place in me over the past year or so, I give as much credit to my daily exercise routine....I don't always workout hard, but I do workout long. I probably average about 45 minutes per day of moderate exercise on an elliptical machine ...
Move More. Imagine that.  Yeah, there's that sarcasm again, but I just can't get over how some the same person who wrote that can behave as he does now.  But surely he didn't get fat because he was lazy.  In HIS OWN WORDS:
This from a former 410-pound slob whose idea of exercise was one sit-up a day: I get up in the morning that's half, I lay down at night that's the other half! Those days are long gone now and I literally crave my exercise now. CRAVE IT and can't live without it!
I've commented to Jimmy several times that I believe the secret to his gaining control over his weight lies in re-reading his old blog posts.  He is too steeped in his LLVLC sloganeering and being some sort of rebel leader to see that listening to Gary Taubes has gotten him nowhere.

If Gary Taubes is brilliant, he is most so because he told legions of obese folks what they wanted to hear.  And if gluttony (or the less inflammatory overeating) is the worst thing one wants to admit to, sloth (or the less inflammatory sedentary behavior) is surely a very close second.  So telling folks that activity is meaningless in the whole equation was just what many wanted to hear.  

But the LLVLC gang has taken it up a notch promoting just the diet as somehow "healthy".  Jimmy has recently taken exercise back up, but he frequently disses the very cardio he formerly credited for helping him lose and maintain his losses.  Such is a movement that requires dismissing everything about "conventional wisdom" as misguided.  It's leaders cannot advocate for anything that fits in with the original (and only required) hypothesis.  Thus we have all sorts of admonitions to engage in "the right type" of exercise if we do.  

To me, Caroline Jhingory is a far better spokesperson for a healthy low carb lifestyle.  She has maintained a 120 lb loss without yo-yo-ing, doesn't "up the fat" and aiming for a ridiculous 75% fat or higher (rather the opposite), is truly fit, and exercises daily walking with a weight vest.    Jimmy mentioned her as an example of a low carber who wasn't heavy, and she was one that was formerly obese.  Go Girl!  Jimmy interviewed her.  Nothing clicked??

Me thinks a deprogramming intervention is in order.....


perishedcore said…
I agree with your premise and argument, although I don't follow Jimmy Moore and have no opinion as to his development.

Tangentially, I have some issues with the modern accepted concept of exercise - or working out - in the vernacular. To me, going to a gym to "work out" is purposeless hamster wheel activity. I react with avoidance to repetitive activities like swimming laps, running laps, and lifting weights. When I reflect how people were active prior to modern day gyms and studios, it occurred to me that first of all, household chores required more activity - both aerobic and resistance. There was much more activity in pick up ball games, jump rope, volleyball, etc. And people danced - a lot. Until cars rolled, dances were a major community activity in just about every westernized culture.

But there was also a lot more purposeful activity of the nature of community social, church and child-oriented service organizations. There were paper drives, bottle drives, clothing drives, new neighbor visits. Lots of tool and kitchen equipment borrowing between neighbors, necessitating lots of face to face visiting. Overall, just more activity.

I really feel as though we've lost so much by losing neighborliness for lack of a better term.


CarbSane said…
I agree with all that you say, but for those with certain "modern obligations" - such as a sedentary job to put food on the table - structured exercise may just be necessary. I'd also like for more opportunities for sports vs. exercise. Ahhh and dancing! I'm way behind in my daily dancing vids on the other blog, but that's not even the sort of dancing you're talking about. Real dancing is a lost art and my generation is really to blame there. Most of my parents' generation know your basic ballroom dances and such. It wasn't cool in mine. Kinda strange for a generation that grew up to Stayin Alive, Footloose and Dirty Dancing!
Anonymous said…
'If Gary Taubes is brilliant, he is most so because he told legions of obese folks what they wanted to hear.'

Thank you for saying this. To me, it's the linchpin of Taubes' success.

More than that, though: he, and I'm sure, Jimmy Moore, have tuned in to the 'branding' aspect of public communication. I see it in reality television, I see it in politics, but it finds its center in the business world.

Jimmy Moore's brand has changed to exclude exercise. That doesn't mean he doesn't still privately appreciate that exercise is key to losing weight (he has a good memory).

Taubes admits to exercise and eating 'lots of vegetables' (carbs!) because he wants to cover every base, take advantage of every loophole. He's careful to always say, 'I'm not a doctor, I'm not a scientist, I'm a journalist.'

Privately, both these people (and others in the business of selling low-carb) can do 100 pushups before breakfast every morning 'just because.' The 'brand' is still going to aim the message at those people who don't want to exercise, don't want to 'eat less and move more' to lose weight.

If memory serves, I think I read that Jimmy Moore has another low-carb cruise planned. With Taubes and Eric Westman on board! It will be interesting to see the 'brands' address exercise and calories.
Mirrorball said…
"'If Gary Taubes is brilliant, he is most so because he told legions of obese folks what they wanted to hear.'

Thank you for saying this. To me, it's the linchpin of Taubes' success."

To me as well. You don't eat too much! You don't have to exercise! It's not your fault, blame the government/scientists/food industry!
Tonus said…
I recall other sites promoting the idea that exercise, while beneficial, shouldn't be undertaken primarily as a weight-loss tool. I guess there is some merit to the idea that you may not burn as many calories as you think you do when exercising, but it may serve as a handy enabler for eating more. "Well, I'll just exercise it off!"

That said, my reasons for exercising regularly are two-fold. The more motivational one is the specter of arthritis as I get older, and seeing the struggles that some local overweight people must deal with. One image that sticks in my mind is of a man who I often see on the bus home. He is around 5' 10", in the 280-320 lb range (with a very large gut and relatively thin arms/legs) and probably in his early 60s. Getting off of the bus is a chore for him; he must brace himself carefully on the handrails and grimaces with the impact of each step. After getting off of the bus, he has to stop for several seconds to catch his breath.

I am determined to avoid such a fate.

Second, I just want to be strong and fit. In the last two months I've seen notable increases in muscle size (shoulders and chest in particular) and my arms and legs are showing some pretty good muscular definition. Also, I can carry items around without feeling out of breath. I think there's also a psychological aspect to it; the better I think I look, the better I feel, and the more likely I am to stick to an exercise and diet regimen that improve my physique.

And heaven knows I will need a good amount of motivation to get the last of this stomach fat to go away!
Tsimblist said…
I recently read somewhere that weight loss is 80% diet and 20% exercise. It might have been on Mark Sisson's site or maybe here.

A problem that I have had is ramping up my caloric intake to support training for a triathlon. And then not dialing it back after the event when I reduced my training load. It doesn't help reduce that tube around my middle.

I do like Sisson's Primal Blueprint Fitness Pyramid. That is a recent find for me and very similar to Phil Maffetone's exercise recommendations. I have been using Maffetone's methods for over two years now.

Most exercise does not need to be intense or even moderate. Light intensity does wonders. Walking is natures perfect cardio.
CarbSane said…
Welcome Tsimblist. That would be Mark's favorite number for which there's no real basis to derive it from. (chuckle ... since he's also big on 80% for adherence to the diet, that would make it more like 64% - grin). I'm not familiar with Maffetone. I don't know that exercise NEEDS to be formal at all but for those who don't move a lot for their other daily activities, it seems crucial. Especially for maintenance, something the subject of this post has been struggling mightily with since - for reasons unknown - he abandoned exercise.
CarbSane said…
@Euler and Mirrorball: Glad I'm not the only one thinking this. I also think GT has the serendipity of timing on his side. What with Atkins' untimely death and the dropping popularity of low carb, Gary is seen as the savior.

Euler, I think Jimmy is a very astute salesman and he's not the biggest name on the internet in low carb for nothing. He's all about brand - Taubes is more about schtick ;) What I find sad is that his brand will ultimately ruin him. He had an opportunity to use the paleo angle to branch out a little from his VLC "prison", and he still seems to be trying to co-opt the paleo message (that's going to get more and more difficult as the field increasingly shifts from VLC/VHF), but he let it go by. He's stuck now.

LOL ... yeah 2012 cruise planning was underway before 2011 sailed. Chris Masterjohn will be on board! I wonder if they'll make him sit through all the other speakers. Frankly, it wouldn't surprise me one bit if the guy suddenly had "other obligations" pop up real soon.

@Tonus: I know what you mean. I used to get winded doing the simplest of things, and now for me it's about being able to do things and not suffer in pain.
Tierney said…
I never understood the "exercise is useless for weight-loss" argument. For me personally, it has been exactly the opposite- it is the only thing that has ever really worked. I have never been obese, but I'm talking the extra 10 or 15 pounds that come and go. They come when I'm inactive and lazy, and go when I get my butt to the gym and get in a routine (it takes several months and then they melt off.)
OnePointFive said…
Mary Veronon and Jacqueline Eberstein start the section on exercise in the Atkins Diabetes book. "Exercise isn't an option when it comes to helping improve your insulin sensitivity. It's mandatory. That is also helps you lose weight and improves your health in other ways is just another huge bonus." Personal experience and everything I read says they're right about the insulin sensitivity.
So why does Taubes, who blames obesity on too much insulin not also promote something that reduces insulin resistance, hence insulin secretion?
What really makes me angry is reading his 'exercise just makes you hungry' parotted minus the other bits about it's health benefits to those who really need to start moving. It's hard enough to start when you're very overweight. So it's very comforting to think it isn't necessary.
Has Garry ever spent much time in France? The slogan for the nutritional guidance here
is 'Manger Bouger' and it's taken quite seriously.
No probably not for self esteem but both eating and moving, are done for the twin benefits of enjoyment and health.
(there are certainly gyms, and even travelling gyms that visit small villages. Team games are popular with the young but cycling and rambling should probably have the status as national hobbies. Even the octogenarians round here do their prescribed daily walks.
CarbSane said…
I think Taubes is more into stereotypes and such than how folks actually live. That's just my impression.

Thanks for pointing this out. It seems that most of the experts who actually WORK with the obese and diabetics advocate/acknowledge the benefits of exercise. Yet many prefer to just parrot Taubes.

Perhaps Taubes realizes that an understanding of the physiology of exercise re: insulin/IR basically negates his hypothesis? Nah ... ;)
RRX said…
Exercise and misc. activity has been a part of my weight loss and maintenance since day one. I wholly acknowledge that some may find their hunger to increase when they get active. In my own case, though, I have not found that to be so.
RRX said…
re. "Perhaps Taubes realizes that an understanding of the physiology of exercise re: insulin/IR basically negates his hypothesis?"

Exactly. The whole body of exercise physiology research does NOT jive with Taubes' view of physiology. None of it makes any sense if you try to apply Taubes' claims to it.
CarbSane said…
@RRX: What gets me sometimes is how relatively lean folks Taubes and others who preach against exercise as a tool for weight management all seem to work out quite a bit or lead really active lives. I have no doubt that sedentary behavior contributed to my obesity. Likely overeating was the major cause, but lack of activity tended to compound the problem.

Some of it is hard to shake habit. Even though I've been about this size/weight for three years now, I still find myself going to sit down when others around me remain standing and I have to consciously remind myself that I don't need to sit!

I also just received an email from a friend who mentioned how going for a brisk walk after a bit of a binge has helped her maintain. I gotta say that occasionally these days I get that voracious hunger where I feel I could eat the refrigerator. I go for a walk instead of eating and that gets rid of that hunger. Physiological or psychological hunger??
Diana said…
I am only speaking from my perspective. I don't tell other people how to create that calorie deficit. And it is all about creating a calorie deficit - but in my case, diet takes precedence.

That said, I walk up 4 flights (80 steps) a day - to my apartment, sometimes 2 or 3 x a day. Some would consider that "exercise." It's just what I've got to do. I also walk at least the equivalent of a couple miles or 1/2 hour a day, maybe more.

But, a tough hike WILL make me eat more. Try as I might not so, I do. And I do tend to "laze around" for a few hours afterwards, and move more slowly the day after a hike. Perhaps if I trained harder this wouldn't happen. But that won't happen until I lose more weight, and the only way that I can lose weight is by cutting the calories.

So yeah, it's diet and exercise. But for me the diet is the priority.
RRX said…

I agree that diet is the priority for weight loss. I generally think that someone has to spend a good amount of time to develop the tolerance/ability to exercise or partake in an activity to such a level that it will expend 500+ kcals/day. Until that point is reached, and hell even then, it is just a lot easier and less stressful on the body to cut out 500+ kcals/day of food to lose weight or to help maintain losses. If a person can exercise AND eat less, then all the better to him/her. During my weight loss, I did both. I wanted to be lean more than just to lose scale-weight. Consequently, I needed physical activity to affect body composition changes in that direction. I found that doing both helped me adhere to both. That is, if I got in a training session, then I would think to myself that I couldn't ruin the effect of it by eating terribly/too much that day. And back and forth.

These days during my maintenance, I get into the gym 3-4 days for 1-1.5 hours each. Outside of the gym, for over a year now, I do a few miles of walking a day due to urban living and still I consider myself otherwise sedentary (office/lab job, I like movies/TV and make no bones about how much I watch, I read a lot, I live in the Northeast where the weather regularly gives us an excuse to stay inside, etc.). I used to be much more active prior to a year ago, but life changes over time, you know. I have taken whole weeks off from the gym since this last winter and still never saw a change on the scale. I don't know why those skipped sessions didn't result in any gain on the scale, but the continued maintenance within 1 lb has given me reason to assume less kcals are expended than I would hope.

That or the whole process just works different in a maintenance/weight-stable state as opposed to a weight-loss state.
RRX said…

I've heard that about walking to blunt hunger. I haven't tried it, though. I never thought to until I heard it from a few people during this last year.
Diana said…

It so happens I wrote the above comment after a week of purposely upping my exercise levels and watching carefully what my reaction was. It was indeed to eat more. Is this a case of suggestion, of self-fulfilling prophecy, because I've read so much that exercise stimulates appetite? I just don't know. I just know that I'm struggling with the whole concept of exercise as an aid to weight loss. I know that it has its place but I'm struggling to find the balance. And right now, for me, I've decided that diet is the key. Maybe 10 pounds from now (God willing) I'll change my tune.

Certainly, in an environment where you CANNOT eat more, increasing activity levels will result in weight loss. And when you are part of a study where you are being studied....maybe the motivation is to exercise more while eating less. But in living a real life, I found this tough.

Cutting those 500 calories a day is for me the way to go - esp. if I know in my heart of hearts that cutting those 500 calories isn't really deprivation, it's just self-control. (Meaning, going from 2000 cals. a day to 1500, not from 1500 to 1000.)

Upshot: as a society, we eat a lot.

PS I was in Grand Central Station yesterday and I was shocked, really shocked, at the amount of rich dessert-type foods that were available in most all the food shops in the station. It hit me that these foods are the kinds of things that people should be eating but a few times a year, at special occasions and religious celebrations. But no, we eat them constantly. Is it any wonder that most of us have weight to lose, and so many are obese?
RRX said…

During my weight loss, it was always my practice to eat as soon after training as I could. Maybe that solved the problem? Maybe that blunted the effect? In the years since I lost the weight (and played around within a 20 lbs range for my training), I have found that I am usually VERY thirsty after an activity or exercise and a drink is what I really want. Only after a nice cold drink or two do I start to think about eating something. And I do drink water throughout the activities! That has caused me to wonder how much of all this is thirst vs hunger? I certainly don't know, and I am sure it's different for every person. All I can say is that each individual has to play around with all of this to find out what works for him/her. Once he/she finds what works, run with it. And in your case, that seems to be just cutting the calories.

As for the mention of deprivation, Indeed.

I know exactly what you mean about our food environment. Not only is it ridiculous that so much of the easily accessible food is desserts (high calories), it's also ridiculous that the size of them is so large. I never think to make such large portions when I cook for myself at home (95% of the time these days)! Now-a-days, when I eat out, I find it so hard to pick menu items that aren't really 2-3 meals.

And it's JUST carbs that are making this nation obese...?
RRX said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
RRX said…
I also think that it is worth mentioning that there are clearly established sex differences with basal metabolic rate (likely due to less lean body mass) and energy expenditure (usually just due to females tending to weigh less than males). That basically means that the cards are stacked against females trying to lose weight as compared to males, I think. In this case, a guy like myself is likely to be able to eat a little more after exercising due to the hunger effect and still lose weight. Both my basal rate and my energy expenditure will likely create a larger total energy expenditure than a woman would doing the same activities as me. The result would be that I still have a caloric deficit while the woman either has less of one or none. At the end of the week, I show a lb or two loss on the scale while the female doesn't. If this is the case, then I have to definitely agree that the exercise is not worth it for the female. OR, if she is well-trained and can tolerate more/high-intensity exercise, then she can exercise enough to create the caloric deficit that way. In most cases that I have ever known of, though, a female that can do that does not need to lose a lot of weight. All of the women I have ever known of that need to lose a lot of weight are not able to exercise their way into a deficit.

All of this, of course, is nonsense really. I mean, calories mean nothing. Just cut the carbs!
Alan said…
Back at Taubes for blog hits eh? somethings never change.

How much do you weigh?
What do your cholesterol levels look like?
Why can't you generate comments and interest in your ramblings without taking potshots at Gary Taubes?
CarbSane said…
Well, if exercise makes one hungry, then it can be counterproductive, I suppose. But, I firmly believe that part of the problem us women have is that our metabolisms aren't as high as we think they are. I'm too lazy to track down the blog post, but in the 70's women were averaging 1500 cal/day. In today's obesogenic environment that's just hard to do for maintenance! So I think for women exercise is even MORE important for creating a deficit or preventing a surplus. Even if the exercise made me hungry and I might eat a bit more, well, that's great now isn't it, so long as I don't overshoot - and I also blogged on a study that showed that on average only some do. I've been my leanest during my adult life when I was my most active. If exercise was worse than ineffective or counter productive, I would have been a fat kid and I was not. When I used to belong to the gym and played raquetball several times a week, did the Nautilis circuit 2-3X/week and put time in occasionally on the lifecycle or stairmaster, I was relatively thin. This despite occasionally downing a few drinks/beers and sometimes a snack at the bar they had right in the gym afterwards. It sure makes for a more enjoyable life to me to be able to eat/drink occasionally without packing on pounds.
Anonymous said…
So what if exercise - a REALLY good workout - makes you hungry? If you are watching your caloric intake, you can handle that. Being hungry doesn't mean you must eat something other than the small snack you would otherwise have eaten while, say, watching TV.

When Taubes says exercise will make you hungry, he is saying exactly what he knows people want to hear. You will notice that he doesn't say, 'Good sex is going to make you hungry.' He's no fool.

Watching calories, you have a good idea of how much energy intake is. I think what trips people up is how watching energy expenditure is not as precise. I want to know at the end of the day that I ate x number of calories (low-carbers knows at the end of the day that they ate few carbs because they watch/count that). It's not as easy to say at the end of the day: I expended Y number of calories.

I make it a point never to take a taxi, always to use the stairs, always to walk the empty grocery cart back into the store. These are small things and they hardly add up to anything. When 70s women were averaging 1500 calories a day, I wonder if they watched AS MUCH TV as we do today, spent AS MUCH time at the computer, drove AS MUCH as everyone drives today.

If I don't eat for a day, the scale goes down. Not much, but it does go down, especially if I'm dehydrated. If I go to the gym one day, the results on the scale won't be predictable. Even weeks and months of exercise may not produce the results I want if I'm not watching caloric intake.

If you don't see quick results, why bother, when it comes to weight loss? (How lazy and short-sighted can we possibly be?) If it's not a sure-fire fix to a problem, why bother?

It IS an obesogenic environment. But what is obesogenic is not only the the physical environment but attitudes.
CarbSane said…
Well said! I agree with everything you wrote.

The quick initial losses most experience on low carb induction suck you in. I know they did me ... and they make most not want to ever increase the carbs - why slow the losses? But quick fixes have never worked for the long haul.
Sanjeev said…
the Taubes / Hahn / Kurt tradition continues

straw men, distraction, denial, and NEVER SPEAKING TO THE ISSUES continues to be your signature.

Please never change ... you provide endless entertainment, in a pathetic sort of way.
Sanjeev said…
I'm exercising these days for 2 reasons: it improves executive function and

2: I enjoy it.

Like the first time I found an exercise I loved & got skinny after a lifetime of obesity (at that time it was with 40 to 80 kilometers of cycling per day and no dieting)

I still love cycling but 8 months ago I found a local gymnastics club - trampolines, bouncy floors, rubber tumbling tracks ...

Find something you like & it becomes a moot issue - all you need to concentrate on is to not reward yourself excessively for the added exercise.
Sanjeev said…
completing the thought above: executive function

1. helps with diet adherence

2. useful for most activities in the western world, especially work related. Imagine an activity that is hampered by being easily distracted and you've found something that executive function will help.

There's lots of research on this - if you want more, just google "executive function" in google - ether google scholar or layperson will get you lots of hits.
Tonus said…
I get the feeling that we're seeing a sort of "push back to a push back" regarding exercise. And I think that just as with diet, it's important to find a solution that works for each of us.

I think that there has been a push back against the idea that exercise is essential for weight loss, not as a way of encouraging people to stop exercising, but as a way of putting it in proper perspective. If exercise does not have as much of an effect as we think it does, then it's good to know that.

But I think that people might get the impression that the message is that exercise is useless, and that is where the second push back is coming from; the intention being to remind people that exercise certainly *can* be part of a healthy lifestyle and that it can be useful as part of a weight-reduction plan.

For me, it comes back to learning and figuring it out for myself. I exercise for the reasons I already stated, but I admit that in the past I considered it a 'must' for weight loss. I don't know if that's the case anymore, but I no longer take that for granted, and am more cautious of how exercise affects my diet.
Muata said…
As someone who was the obese guy looking for an excuse not to exercise, I can say that the whole notion of exercising making me hungry was much more psychological than physical in my case.

As Sanjeev said, every time I worked out "hard" (which was usually 45 minutes on the elliptical), I felt that I had earned that over priced, and calorie laden, protein smoothie I'd order afterwards at the "bar" in my gym (which made my visit a wash).

Saying that exercising makes you "overeat" is just folks, again, wanting to point the finger elsewhere instead of looking in the mirror and dealing with the real reasons they are overeating.

CS, I've been re-reading Ellis's Ulimate Diet Secrets and he mentions a study that compared the affect of exercise vs. dieting on BMR (for one year). I'll have to go back and see if he mentions the researcher because Greg was stingy with his references in this book; fortunately, in his later books he provided his sources.

Anyway, he advocates that people move more and cut calories less because exercise doesn't affect your BMR as much as cutting calories; also, by focusing on the MM part of the equation, you're also psychologically and physically preparing yourself for the metabolic adaptations that will eventually kick in the leaner the former obese person becomes.

I wholeheartedly agree with him. It seems our bodies can adapt/adjust how it uses an ingested calorie, but its "best" defense against burning calories is to makes us move less, which, fortunately, is something we have control over.
Paul Jaminet said…
Hi CarbSane,

I'm intrigued by the observation that walking can suppress your hunger. Walking triggers lipolysis in the legs and butt, while sitting suppresses it. That suggests a hypothesis: Hunger may reflect low circulating free fatty acids, and FFA levels rise when you start walking, eliminating the hunger.

I do think a standing desk is a very desirable weight loss tool. I would agree with Taubes that what people consider "exercising" -- ie 20 minutes a day -- probably doesn't do much for weight loss, but total time spent being active -- standing or walking -- might be crucial. If you can be on your feet 12 hours a day instead of 1, the difference could be very large.
Anonymous said…
I was listening to a podcast lately in which the speaker said that you burn as many calories walking a mile as running a mile. The reason, he said, was that you are moving weight and that is what is important, not the speed. Just that you move it. When you run, you cover more territory, but if it's the same distance, the caloric expenditure is nearly the same.

'Exercising' - for 20 minutes a day - is moving your body. Doing jumping jacks is moving your body. Doing lunges is moving your body. Doing crunches is moving your body. When you get so good at those moves that it requires less effort, it takes less energy to move that body.

If you sit the rest of the day, that is not as good as just moving your body more.

However, standing is not moving your body. It may be better than sitting but not by much. Not compared to exercising. If by standing at your desk, you move your body more by moving around the room, out the door, into the hall, etc., then it does burn calories. But that's moving - as in the 'move more' part of 'eat less, move more.' It's not standing, it's moving.

Walking is exercise, but how much do people actually walk? From house to car, from car to store, around store, back to car, from car to house. (Substitute 'office' for 'store' if you have a job).

I have been watching an employee of our local post office grow in size, waist-size, that is, for the past 10 years. She stands all day. She moves her body very little, from the front to the back of the office, but mainly, she stands. I started to think of a dog tethered to a chain. Not covering much territory. Not fidgeting. Just standing.

She's easily over 300 pounds now.
Sanjeev said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sanjeev said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sanjeev said…
> moving weight and that is what is important,
> not the speed. Just that you move it

That would be true if the vertical displacement of the body's centre of mass were the same between running and walking.

They're not.

humans can walk very very efficiently[0]. The entire body, but largely the feet, glutes and spine can co-ordinate in a way that the vertical displacement of the body's centre of mass is very small with each step.

One moves very little weight vertically when one walks.

The vertical displacement when running is much larger. Similar coordinations happen as with walking but are not as effective - every step entails a a small jump up and a descent.

Add up all the small hops & descents and running moves a lot more weight vertically.

here's one study (I wrote the above before reading that),7120,s6-242-304-311-8402-0,00.html or click here

[0] in cycling one can actually move horizontally with near zero vertical displacement per "step". That's why cycling's so much more efficeint than walking
Diana said…
Everything I've read is that running uses up more calories than running.

"So what if exercise - a REALLY good workout - makes you hungry? If you are watching your caloric intake, you can handle that."

Well, sorry, but after a 10 mile hike on Memorial Day I was very very hungry. And I ate. A lot. It is true that over the weekend I lost one pound because I really watched it and didn't do my usual hiking weekend pig out. But I couldn't control the overwhelming urge to stuff my gut. I agree that a 300 calorie gym workout re-feed is probably psychological, or habitual.

"Being hungry doesn't mean you must eat something other than the small snack you would otherwise have eaten while, say, watching TV."

For me, it does, if I'm truly hungry and not just a bit empty.

"When Taubes says exercise will make you hungry, he is saying exactly what he knows people want to hear."

Not me. I desperately want to hear that exercise will make me thin. But it isn't so. I think that our bodies are designed to hold onto fat stores for dear life. And certainly in my case it has something to do with being a woman.

I don't really understand what this has to do with GCBC's thesis anyway. If Taubes wanted to disprove the CICO theory, what does eating more after exercise have to do with it? Is he saying that if you eat steak and a stick of butter after expending 800 calories hiking that you won't gain weight? I'm not sure what his point is, if calories don't count.
Diana said…
I thought this was interesting. Of course, it's just one study. And the conclusions are "suggested."
Sanjeev said…
Taubes did not write much about exercise in GC,BC.

In interviews at that time he basically said (paraphrased) he didn't want to talk much about exercise because he had not done enough research to know much, but what research he had done suggested people eat more in response.

I believe his stance has changed a lot, his pronunciamentos have taken on a certainty instead of the previous "I don't know much" tentativeness, and I've not heard him claim he did a lot more research to justify the newfound certainty
Anonymous said…
The idea is that if you realize exercise is not a useful thing for you to do to lose weight, then you won't feel bad about not exercising!

I walk a couple of miles a week. Exercise has NEVER made me hungry - not lifting weights, spinning, or kick boxing. Stress makes me hungry.

And calorie expenditure for running and walking?

'Absolute energy expenditure to walk or run a mile was similar between groups (NWW 93.9 ± 15.0, OW 98.4 ± 29.9, MR 99.3 ± 10.8 kcal)'

NWW is normal weight walkers, OW is overweight walkers and MR is marathon runners.

As for Taubes, he's a journalist, not a doctor, not a scientist. He's the first to say that in the presence of scientists and doctors!
CarbSane said…
Hi Paul, I think for me, the walking or exercising in general blunting hunger is more of a psychological thing. When I did formal IF (Fast 5) for several months two summers ago, I would often get very hungry at around 2pm. A goodly portion of it seems to be habitual/boredom hunger. Those days when I went for my bike ride or walk around that time I wasn't feeling hunger while exercising and often didn't even feel like breaking my fast when I returned.

I do believe that much of the lack of benefit seen with exercise has to do with folks using it as an anti-gain tool and overestimating how many calories they really were burning. Most studies with exercise alone include NO dietary intervention. I'd say that if I had a choice (and the time) of following a regimented plan to lose weight, I'd prefer walking 5 miles/day and eating at current levels to cutting 500 cal/day from my diet.

In the long run even Taubes acknowledges the metabolic adaptations that occur with caloric restriction. Where he's dishonest in his presentation is that he does not routinely acknowledge that WHEN low carb works for weight loss it is because of considerable spontaneous caloric restriction. That, and I suspect the outliers do have a significant fat absorption problem.

I'm playing with the standing desk notion for part of my time on the computer. Calories expended through NEAT do really add up.
Anonymous said…
Or you could try this:

I've had it on my computer for awhile. Neat!
Diana said…
"I walk a couple of miles a week. Exercise has NEVER made me hungry - "

Walking a couple of miles a week doesn't make me hungry. Hiking 10 miles over hilly terrain does. Try it, tell me how your body responds.

Re the study you cited, I find problems with it. They compare overweight with normal with marathoners. Is that valid? Even so they find:

"; however, significant differences were noted when energy expenditure was expressed relative to mass (MR > NWW > OW)."

Compare that study with:

"Conclusion: Running has a greater energy cost than walking on both the track and treadmill."

In short, I don't want to get hung up on whether Taubes thinks exercise is mostly useless for weight loss. It's not really Taubes or Eades or Moore that gets my goat. It's gimmicks. And to me, basing a weight loss regime on exercise is a form of gimmickry. Weight maintenance, yes, but not weight loss. I too prefer a lifestyle where I can move more AND eat more. But if you are obese, get real: cut your caloric intake.
Flavia said…
"I do think a standing desk is a very desirable weight loss tool."

I use a standing desk about 50% of my work day (it is a modified bed tray- which I find ironic. What is more lazy than eating in bed!?)

Without changing my diet, which is pretty much whatever I want in moderation (5'4 around 1300-1800 calories a day), my weight has gone down by around 3 lbs. I do not know if it is just the standing, but I do think that by standing I am also more willing to move more. Since I am already up, I'll walk to someone's office instead of emailing, etc. I am also always moving around when I am standing- rocking back and forth, moving my legs...this is just natural. It feels odd to stand in the same way...especially in heels.

I think your mileage may vary is the best advice. There is some advice that works on most people that does not work on me. I actually eat MORE when I calorie count, as without actually tracking my calories, I tend to overestimate everything. For example, yesterday I had a double Whopper for lunch, thinking, well this is about 1,100 calories or more, so with the bagel I ate today I am at 1500. That's all I'll eat. I looked our of curiosity and it was "only" 900 calories! So guess what? I ate a little bit more since I felt entitled to it. For those that underestimate, counting is ok, but some of us can use our stomachs as guides.

Also exercise does NOT make me hungry. At all. Exercise suppresses my appetite to the point that I cannot eat a few hours after (and I cannot eat 4 hours or less prior to exercise as I get nauseous).

Anyway, I have rambled on, but remember, what the experts say may not work for you.
Anonymous said…
' however, significant differences were noted when energy expenditure was expressed relative to mass (MR > NWW > OW)."


I was talking about calories burned - which I think is what they refer to. When they express something differently, as they do in the sentence you quote above, it does change. This is something I saw in a lot of studies, and one runners' website that talked about 'net calories burned.' I think that wandering off from the absolute calories expended will change the result. No surprise there!

I don't need to run 10 miles of hilly terrain to compare my hunger response to exercise to yours. I don't have that hunger response. As far as extreme exercise goes, this ain't my first rodeo!

It's silly to make a statement that 'exercise will make you hungry' when not only individuals but activities vary widely.

I walk to save my knees. Knock on wood, I've protected myself from injury so far, but even when I ran with the YMCA, I held back and watched everyone, including the instructor, eventually suffer some injury. They either dropped out of running for that reason or were recovering from an injury and had to watch the pace.

I also have yet to see exercise sold as a 'gimmick' to lose weight!
CarbSane said…
Paul & Flavia! You both got me thinking about that stupid Gazelle I've had standing in the bedroom corner for months now. I got it years ago, and it's not really good for exercise ... not my thang ... but I have an HP mini that I do a lot of work on these days and I can find a way to mount a platform for this on that contraption! Not only can I stand, but I can sway and do some arm movement too! Oooh ... and it has a drink holder too :D
Flavia said…
Those minor movements add up. I also think it has a lot to do with engaging the muscles as well. When you sit your body is just limp. Even basic standing is healthier for the muscles and bones.
Diana said…

Sorry but you aren't dealing with the core issue here: ""Conclusion: Running has a greater energy cost than walking on both the track and treadmill."

I refuse to get into a pointless exchange with someone who doesn't want to deal with the core issue, so this is all I'll say on the subject. According to everything I've read, running is more energy expensive than walking, *other things equal*, which it is NOT in the study you cited. The study you cited compares three wildly disparate groups - and then concludes that energy expenditure DID vary according to mass, with the marathoners expending the most and the obese the least. This is significant and you can't dance around that.

I never said I "ran" on hilly terrain, and I'd appreciate it if you did NOT put words into my mouth. If there is one thing that is guaranteed to piss me off royally, it is being misquoted. I hiked on hilly terrain. And I got hungry. We all did. I don't think a person who thinks that walking a few miles a week is exercise should be spouting off about this.

I'm quite mystified as to why people are so resistant to the idea that heavy exertion will make people hungry. Is it because Gary Taubes said it?
Tierney said…
Wait- so if exercise just makes you hungrier, and therefore is a net loss, isn't that an endorsement of CICO? I'm confused by his tortured logic.
CarbSane said…
Especially when sitting on a couch! Just the balancing DOES use a little bit here and there.
CarbSane said…
Ya know Tierney, this is the odd thing when you listen to Taubes... ultimately he uses "excess calories" all the time. And he's also stated that sedentary behavior and overeating don't cause obesity but once one gets magically obese this causes us to be more sedentary and eat more to maintain the state. Ummmm .... The contradictions abound!!
Sanjeev said…
Diana said...
I'm quite mystified as to why people are so resistant to the idea that heavy exertion will make people hungry
Some people have the opposite experience and sheer numbers (showing statistically most people get hungrier after exercise) are a weak tool to change peoples' minds.

WFM[0] is good a good geek-ism (for buggy programs) but not good science.

That said, I'm not sure anyone here is claiming no one gets hungry after exercise - some people are simply putting their personal experience in public view, not necessarily contradicting the studies

[0] "works for me"
CarbSane said…
I'm having a little difficulty following this more contentious discussion on exercise. For my part, I've never said exercise won't make some people hungry - it's quite possible it may make most of the people hungry most of the time, even. But it is certainly not true that "The one thing that might be said about exercise with certainty is that it tends to makes us hungry".

I think on the periods of my life where I was most active I was not running around ravenously hungry all day long. When I was sitting on my duff thinking about what my diet-plan du jour would allow me to eat for my next meal, I was ... and quite often just eating that next meal would trigger overeating or an outright binge if it wasn't "on plan" as prescribed. The surest way to trigger a binge to me seems to be to impose a restrictive diet. That's my n=1, but also n=many many others I know mired in "diet mentality".
Anonymous said…
Doing 4-5 mile hikes carrying a 25lb , active baby makes me hungry, which was not my experience with previous arduous exercise pre-baby, but it only makes me hungry to the tune of 100ish-200ish calories.

If I eat during the hike that 100 calories, I don't need to eat afterwards and will find eating much more than 100ish cals a little unpleasant (if i bring a 250 calorie granola bar, i will struggle to finish the whole thing). But if I wait until after the hike, I will happily eat the whole granola bar and be satisfied for hours following.

So my experience is not 10 mile hikes, but half the length, i do get hungry, but only for a smallish snack either way.
Woodey said…
"The one thing that might be said about exercise with certainty is that it tends to makes us hungry. Maybe not immediately, but eventually."

I've heard that not eating has the same effect.

Jimmy Moore tried to push the same thing recently on his Facebook site. "Exercise makes you overeat" blah blah blah. I said it never did to me. Even when I was a gym rat I rarely experienced the sensation that I needed to race home and gorge myself. Usually I got home took a shower, relaxed, drank fluids, and then I would eat.

The majority of the time that I did overeat was because I wanted to eat a lot, which really wasn't from hunger pains but more from wanting to eat the whole damn thing (like a pizza). There were also plenty of times I exercised at night and when I got home I showered and went to bed, no eating involved.

Funny thing is Jimmy is overeating and as far as I can tell not exercising. Hmmm.

I'm new to the site so forgive me for being late to the party.
Woodey said…
Correction on Jimmy not exercising. I found a tweet he posted on Facebook that was made in February. He is working out. So then why would he also talk about how exercise causes overeating and not essential to weight loss? Is it just me or is he sending mixed signals? I'm still reading and sorting things out.
CarbSane said…
Jimmy has apparently been lifting weights ... 2X/week? He also does randomly referee youth league games and play volleyball. But when he used to report that on his menus blog it wasn't regular. When he lost the weight he was doing the dreaded "chronic cardio" 45 min daily or mostly. AND he was working a job outside the home. Even a desk job requires getting your ass up and out the door, to the car, to your desk, to the lunch room, back to desk, back to car, back into house. Now he has that ideal work from home job in front of a computer monitor 24/7. He needs to MOVE MOORE!!!