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Art Woods, Marty Martin
What can modern hunter-gatherer societies teach us about human energy budgets? What misconceptions do we have about weight loss and weight management? Are there limits to human endurance?
On this episode, we talk with Herman Pontzer (@HermanPontzer) of Duke University. We discuss his new book Burn, in which he examines -- and in some cases overturns -- received wisdom about human energy budgets and human metabolism. Much of the book is framed around Herman’s amazing long-term studies with the Hadza, a group of modern-day hunter-gatherers in Tanzania. That work reveals insights into human energy expenditure and helping reframe our Western dogmas about diet. He argues that because our metabolism evolved to cope with starvation, weight management is likely to be much more successful if we limit what we put into our bodies rather than how many calories we burn during exercise. His evolutionary perspective also alters how we understand and treat metabolic disease, and the energetic limits to endurance among elite athletes. Those fitbits we love might not be as helpful as we’d like!
Cover photo: A Hadza camp scene
Length of Episode
1 hour, 3 minutes, 21 seconds
Digital File Format
Woods, Art and Martin, Marty, "Episode 059: Feel the burn: The limits of human energy expenditure and endurance" (2021). BigBiology Podcasts. 60.