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Publisher's Summary

One of the foremost researchers in human metabolism reveals surprising new science behind food and exercise.

We burn 2,000 calories a day. And if we exercise and cut carbs, we'll lose more weight. Right? Wrong. In this paradigm-shifting book, Herman Pontzer reveals for the first time how human metabolism really works so that we can finally manage our weight and improve our health.

Pontzer's groundbreaking studies with hunter-gatherer tribes show how exercise doesn't increase our metabolism. Instead, we burn calories within a very narrow range: nearly 3,000 calories per day, no matter our activity level. This was a brilliant evolutionary strategy to survive in times of famine. Now it seems to doom us to obesity. The good news is we can lose weight, but we need to cut calories. Refuting such weight-loss hype as paleo, keto, anti-gluten, anti-grain, and even vegan, Pontzer discusses how all diets succeed or fail: For shedding pounds, a calorie is a calorie.

At the same time, we must exercise to keep our body systems and signals functioning optimally, even if it won't make us thinner. Hunter-gatherers like the Hadza move about five hours a day and remain remarkably healthy into old age. But elite athletes can push the body too far, burning calories faster than their bodies can take them in. It may be that the most spectacular athletic feats are the result not just of great training, but of an astonishingly efficient digestive system.

Revealing, irreverent, and always entertaining, Pontzer has written a book that will change how you eat, move, and live.

This audiobook edition contains a downloadable PDF of charts included in the print edition. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2021 Herman Pontzer (P)2021 Penguin Audio

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on fire!

this wasn't the book I thought it would be. it was better! I liked the science and context. I liked the connection between energy and climate. in some ways this book was reminiscent of "Guns, Germs and Steel" but about kilocalories.

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  • Brad
  • 2021-03-10

Went from Science to Psuedo Science

This one started out with great tidbits - Gyms don't make you skinny (yep), don't overeat (thanks), live like an African tribe (no thanks). However, as quick as I can make a glazed doughnut disappear the finger-wagging global warming/climate change/America bad lecture came out of left field in the last 15-20 minutes of the book. Yawn. Bye.

4 people found this helpful

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  • chris boutte
  • 2021-03-12

Great book dispelling weight myths

I've always struggled with my weight, but during my 8-year drug addiction, I put on over 200 lbs. I've been sober for 8.5 years, and I've been struggling to take the weight off. Something that drives me nuts is all of the non-scientific contradictory information about diet and exercise out there, so I decided to check out this book from Herman Pontzer. I must say that Pontzer did an incredible job with this book, and I think it's perfect for a wide range of readers. 

I'm more of a psychology guy than a biology guy, but Pontzer was able to break down how the body functions in a simple way. There are still a few concepts I may need to go back and revisit, but his overall thesis was easy to grasp. What I really enjoyed about this book was how the author dispelled a lot of myths about diets, exercise, metabolism, and more. My only critique is at the end of this book, I personally didn't leave with many solutions, but that's not what this book was about. Fortunately, Herman replied to me on Twitter and recommended some other great books that I can check out.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Ronny
  • 2021-05-16

The anecdotes are worth the price of entry...

A good review of the current science on metabolism. In the course of the book the author addresses a lot of the current critics and fads which is quite relevant to most non-scientists interested in this area. It is also, at times, quite amusing and the anecdotes are probably, on their own, worth the price of entry.

The reader is perfectly competent.

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  • mvanhille
  • 2021-04-19

Educational yet missed the boat to reach its potential.

The author brought in great research and storytelling skills.
I found some of the research eye opening and educational. For me this seemed like it was another piece of the complex puzzle to look at the integrative systems in the human body.

Where this book and story went south for me was when the author decided to focus on attacking or debunking other parts of the human integrative systems and rather focus on his ‘piece of the puzzle’ holding the only truth.

I would have loved to see the search for complimentary, which I’m sure it is, rather than the debate on differences. This is another ‘the china study’ approach to storytelling research, leading missing the boat.

A shame and hope that more work will be done to see if and how the study’s in this book fit into the overal integrative systems of the body and beyond the body as a semi flexible closed loop calories in/out view.

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  • Dun2020
  • 2021-04-13

An Excellent Read

An exceptional science book that is informative and easy to understand on many levels. A must read to help you understand how diet ,exercise and our origins affect how our metabolism works. The narrator is excellent.

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  • Heather
  • 2021-04-11

Great messag , but not great narration

Really enjoyed the science and anthropological insights. A sound message. But narration is monotonous and distracting. Repetitive inflection. Still with listening to.

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  • Lester R Cox
  • 2021-03-11

Great audio book if you are ready to lose weight

Love it and learnt a whole lot about carbs, fats and protein ... If you want to lose weight, this is all you need