Skip to main content


The Science of Diet & Exercise
by Karin Tucker

Section 1: Breaking Biology: New Truths in Diet & Exercise

1.1   The Exercise Paradox
        by Herman Pontzer

1.2   The Messy Truth about Weight Loss
        by Susan B. Roberts and Sai Krupa Das

1.3   The “True” Human Diet
        by Peter Ungar

1.4   Mind over Meal: Weight-Loss Surgery and the Gut-Brain Connection
        by Bret Stetka

Section 2: Behavioral Intervention

2.1   Don’t Diet!
        by Charlotte N. Markey

2.2   Behavior: The Additional Key to Weight-Loss
        by David H. Freedman

Section 3: Mental Floss: Your Brain on Exercise

3.1   Head Strong
        by Ferris Jabr

3.2   Take 2 Hikes and Call Me in the Morning
        by Nathaniel P. Morris

The Science of Diet & Exercise

For decades, experts reduced weight loss to simple math: burn more calories than you consume, without too much regard for what you consumed. Another old maxim presupposes that people who are more physically active burn more calories than less active people. Both tenets sound inescapably logical, but evidence is starting to refute such conventional wisdom on weight loss. Data from Susan B. Roberts and Sai Krupa Das show that the kinds of foods you eat are as important as how much you eat, and anthropologist Herman Pontzer’s studies of physically active hunter-gatherers illustrate that energy expenditure (caloric burn) stays virtually constant, regardless of activity. The eight articles in this collection present the most recent research examining the details of the metabolic process and testing new approaches, some of which can be applied to how we think about diet and exercise today.

eBooks now available exclusively in our webstore! We offer unlimited downloads so that you can sync with all your devices. For technical or other questions, please see: eBook FAQs.