We know that losing weight depends on a lot of factors, but does one matter more than another? A new study on one of the last hunter-gatherer tribes in existence points to evidence that when it comes to dropping pounds, the secret may just be in what you eat.
The study, published in the journal PLoS One, tracked the metabolism rates of 30 members of the Hazda tribe, a hunter-gatherer community in Tanzania. The study's researchers found that despite the perception that a member of a hunter-gatherer tribe would move much more than the average sedentary office worker, in fact the metabolism rates were similar between both groups. But while their energy expenditure rates turned out to be the same, their weight was not: the tribe members weighed much less than their Western counterparts.
So if calorie burn was the same, why the difference in weight? Researchers say that what the hunter-gatherers eat is the reason for the large weight disparity. While the tribal members eat whole, unprocessed wild foods, the average American relies on much fattier fare, which has more of an effect on their waistlines than activity level. The stats give more evidence to the belief that "differences in obesity prevalence between populations result primarily from differences in energy intake [food] rather than expenditure [exercise]," the authors say.
The findings confirm what a lot of people already believe — that in the quest to lose weight, your diet is what's most important. Of course, exercise will always be a key component of the calories in/calories out formula (and not only that, there are more important reasons to stay active than just your dress size!). What do you think of the findings?