|Image 1: Guess how she got in in shape? Right! The EDC Program ;-)|
The E & D in EDC - or how dieting makes sense only if you "exercise"
Ever since I heard Gary Taubes on Dr. Oz say that exercise would "only make you hungry" and would thusly not help with weight loss, Taubes' otherwise certainly highly recommendable book "Good Calories Bad Calories" has disappeared from the list of potential Christmas presents for friends and family. While I do not doubt that you can lose weight simply by changing your diet, it is yet completely illusory to believe that someone who is leading an otherwise sedentary life-style could ever shed superfluous pounds and build and maintain a decent physique without the fat burning and muscle sparing effects even moderate exercise has to offer. This simple, yet willingly overlooked fact has been substantiated only recently, by a study that is soon going to be published in the Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism (Andreou. 2011).
|Image 2: I am not sure about the "C" as in chocolate, as this is a typical "female comfort food", but as far as "E" and "D" are concerned, the protocol will work for men at least as well.|
Exercise exponentiates and modulates the effects of reasonable dietary restriction
But before we address the important issue of sustainabilty, let's first take a look at the study design: The Cyprian scientists put all their subjects (age: 34y; weight: 81kg; waist: 93cm; body fat: 40%) on the same "energy restricted" diet (1,500kcal /day; 50% carbs, 30% fat, 20% protein). While half of the subjects just continued on their customary (supposedly sedentary) lifestyle the (un?)lucky other half had to complement their dietary efforts by performing a "moderate exercise" program that consisted of either
- 3 or more days a week of vigorous-intensity activity of at least 20 min per day, or
- 5 or more days a week of moderate-intensity activity and/or walking of at least 30 min per day, or
- 5 or more days a week of any combination of walking, moderate-intensity, or
- any desired vigorous-intensity activities achieving a minimum of at least 600 MET-min/week
|Figure 1: Lean body mass, body fat and body water (in kg) at baseline, post intervention (18 weeks) and on post-intervention follow up (36 weeks) (data calculated based on Andreou. 2011)|
|Figure 2: Weight loss, fat loss, loss of fat-free mass and reduction in BMI after 36 weeks in the "diet only" and the "diet + exercise" arm of the study (data adapted from Andreou. 2011)|
Add the "C" to E & D to keep sane and lean out even faster
So now that we have justified the addition of "E" as in "exercising to lose fat" to the "D" as in "dieting your muscles away", the one thing that is still missing to make this the perfect female weight-loss EDC is the "C" from dark chocolate (60% cacao), of which Cathrine E. Piehowski and her colleagues from the Pennsylvenia State University found that it had, when added as a 90kcal snack two times a day, a beneficial effect on the outcomes of dietary intervention involving 26 overweight and obese (BMI >25 to <43) premenopausal women (Piehowski. 2011).
|Figure 3: Reductions in waist circumference, hip circumference, body fat (%) and estimated mean daily calorie intake in women in the chocolate and the non-chocolate snack group (data adapted from Piehowski. 2011)|
So, ladies and, as I explained in the red box, gentlemen, what are you waiting for? The EDC approach to a leaner year 2012 is already there! You better start now, if you want to to have 10% less body fat in the summer month of 2012! To wait for the New Year to make a change, by the way is about as idiotic as Taube's statement that "exercise would just make you more hungry"... with regards to carbohydrates, Taubes is yet totally right. If the diet of the subjects in the Andreou study had been higher in fat and protein and lower in carbs, the results would probably have been even more astonishing. And if you keep following the daily updates on exercise and nutrition science here, at the SuppVersity, and implement all the stuff you learn into your exercise and nutrition regimen, you will have lost the 10% body fat even before the beach season starts ;-)