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Science

Exercise and Caffeine May Activate Metabolic Genes 148

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the fifty-cups-of-coffee-or-exercise-'tis-the-question dept.
ananyo writes "A trip to the gym could mean not just losing pounds — but also chemical modifications from DNA in the form of methyl groups. The presence (or absence) of methyl groups at certain positions on DNA can affect gene expression. Researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm looked at the methylation status of genes in small biopsies taken from the thigh muscles of healthy young adults before and after a stint on an exercise bike. They found that, for some genes involved in energy metabolism, the workout demethylated the promoter regions (stretches of DNA that facilitate the transcription of particular genes). Genes unrelated to metabolism remained methylated. Furthermore, similar demethylation could be seen when cultured muscle cells were given a massive (probably lethal) dose of caffeine."
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Exercise and Caffeine May Activate Metabolic Genes

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  • by alesplin (1376141) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @07:08PM (#39267935)
    From TFA: ...“one would need to consume a caffeine equivalent of about 50 cups per day, almost close to a lethal dose”, she says. “Exercising is far easier if you ask me.” Clearly, she doesn't know about the secret Mountain Dew IV that hackers use whilst lurking in their parents' basements...
    • by MrEricSir (398214) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @07:16PM (#39268009) Homepage

      Right, because nobody ever gets fat from Mountain Dew.

      • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

        by AK Marc (707885)
        It would be hard to. Eating a teaspoon of sugar, all other things being equal, will cause you to lose weight because the increase in your metabolic rate will be more than the calories contained within. Caffeine is the number 1 drug in diet pills. It increases metabolism and decreases appetite (just like the cocaine it was selected to replace).

        So, someone on an otherwise healthy diet that added one non-diet MD to their diet, would likely decrease, not increase in weight. The effect of 50 per day, evenly
        • by babblefrog (1013127) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @07:40PM (#39268251)
          A 20 oz Mountain Dew contains approximately 19 tsp of sugar. Calibrate accordingly.
        • by marnues (906739) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @07:48PM (#39268343)
          You certainly know how to spit out studies, but you seem to have missed a lot of connection.
          First off, sugar's affect on metabolism is not linear. Ingesting a little sugar may increase the body's caloric need above the sugar's caloric content. Ingesting a lot of sugar definitely does not. Otherwise a mountain dew would be some unbelievable drug with lethal consequences.
          Secondly, sugar comes in many forms, and those forms are packaged in various substances. No substances will have exactly the same affect on the body as another. Getting to the sugar in a sugar pill may be the cause of the increased caloric need while getting to the sugar in a mountain dew requires almost no change in caloric need.
          Thirdly, bodies digest substances differently based on state. If I've been to the gym for an hour everyday for a year, my body won't notice much difference between the sugar pill and nothing at all. If my metabolic rate is effectively zero though, the sugar pill can have notice effects, as any ingested substance can.
        • by geekoid (135745)

          wrong. Suger will not allow you to butrn more calories then it has in it.

          " Caffeine is the number 1 drug in diet pills It increases metabolism and decreases appetite"
          Barley and for short periods. You ever notice the diet pills don't work long term?

          "Just like Cocaine"..

          no, not just like it. It's like saying this glass of water is just like the hover damn.

          "It would be hard to."
          Ah, saving the best for last. Drinking 50 cups of coffee worth of caffeine through Mtn Dew is a lot of calories. It would cause you to

          • by AK Marc (707885)

            Barley and for short periods.

            What, do you get your caffeine from barley?

            no, not just like it.

            No, just like it. Coca-Cola had that name for a reason. Cocaine and heroine tonics were common in the 1800s, and when the laws started moving against them, the soda makers found the closest drug they could, and caffeine is the closest there is. It affects your body in a nearly identical manner, the *only* difference is that you need more caffeine for the same effect, making it easier to prevent OD. There is no logical reason why caffeine should be illegal and c

        • by multiben (1916126)
          That is SOOOOOOOO wrong I think I might go blind.
          • by AK Marc (707885)
            What, that caffeine is a diet drug? That a teaspoon of sugar a day will cause weight loss? Or that you didn't know any of that?

            Someone else pointed out that a serving contains well more than a single teaspoon of sugar, but the effects of multiples isn't something I've seen studied, so it gets to guessing area for all involved.

            I just wanted to make it clear that drinking excessive Mountain Dew wouldn't necessarily make you fat, though it wouldn't be good for you. Nobody has done an effective job of re
    • "Exercising is far easier if you ask me."

      I'll take my chances.

    • by Joce640k (829181)

      If your goal is "weight loss" then eating less is far easier and more effective than trying to burn it off at the gym. Going to the gym often makes you eat more when you get home - making it a waste of time.

      (Yeah, I know it's heresy in the USA to say gym isn't the answer to everything...)

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Auroch (1403671)

        If your goal is "weight loss" then eating less is far easier and more effective than trying to burn it off at the gym. Going to the gym often makes you eat more when you get home - making it a waste of time.

        (Yeah, I know it's heresy in the USA to say gym isn't the answer to everything...)

        ... Wrong. Eating less will only work for a while, and only if it is a moderate decrease. You burn most of your calories due to metabolic rates, and the best way to increase your metabolism is to build muscle. So no, you don't have to go to the gym. And cardio won't really do it for you either. But you do need to bulk up on your muscle mass.

        Example - an hour of cardio will let you burn about 300-400 calories. Increasing your base metabolic rate by 10% will let you burn the exact same amount with absolut

      • by ceoyoyo (59147)

        Most people can't make permanent changes to their diet alone. Exercise is an appetite suppressant so it's easier to change your diet if you also get more exercise. Not that a gym is the best solution - the big blue room has all sorts of collateral benefits.

        Also, I don't understand your parenthetical statement. I'm under the impression that fad diets are the answer to everything weight related in the US and actually getting some exercise and eating reasonably is avoided at all costs.

      • If your goal is "weight loss" then eating less is far easier and more effective than trying to burn it off at the gym. Going to the gym often makes you eat more when you get home - making it a waste of time.

        (Yeah, I know it's heresy in the USA to say gym isn't the answer to everything...)

        Not to be nasty or anything, but that is just total bullocks, and is typically used by the willingly uninformed as an excuse to be lazy. How can anyone seriously claim exercise is not beneficial? People can and do go to the gym and watch their diet and maintain great physiques. They're not genetic mutants, they just have a little freakin' willpower.
        There's also the point that -given High Intensity training, or good ol' fashioned weight lifting, as opposed to the treadmill- most of your calories aren't bur

      • by dr2chase (653338)

        Your statement is not universally true; I am a counterexample. Dieting is not easy (for me). Riding my bike to work and on random errands is. Riding my bike caused me to lose about 15-20lbs pretty quickly and keep it off for years, plus I get to enjoy meals and/or beer.

  • & your genes runnier?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @07:14PM (#39267987)

    FTFA:

    Zierath cautions that this result does not imply that drinking coffee could be a replacement for exercise. Caffeine acts mainly through the central nervous system, and to see direct effects on muscle such as those in the rodent-cell experiments, “one would need to consume a caffeine equivalent of about 50 cups per day, almost close to a lethal dose”, she says. “Exercising is far easier if you ask me.”

    It's hard to code while I exercise, and it's only almost close a lethal dose. If it doesn't kill me, will 50 cups of coffee make me stronger? ;)

  • Translation? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by slasho81 (455509) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @07:15PM (#39267993)
    Can we get an English translation of the summary?
    • by Deathnerd (1734374) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @07:21PM (#39268063)
      Agreed. I can't make heads or tails whether having my DNA promoter regions methylated or demethylated is good for me or not.
      • I can't make heads or tails whether having my DNA promoter regions methylated or demethylated is good for me or not.

        Exercise switches on expression of certain muscle-related genes in muscles. Film at eleven.

        Surprise, surprise! What did they expect?

        IMHO they're just discovering the details of some signaling pathways in muscles, probably related to rebuilding damage and strengthening muscles as a result of exercise.

      • by slashmojo (818930)

        I've seen some methylated dudes staggering around town.. apparently it works for them.

    • Yeah, where's that "I am a biologist, ask me questions" person?

      From what I understand out of the article, de-methylation is good because the genes that are methylated don't get run -- basically the methyl is a "comment" marker for your DNA. So this discovery may show how exercise improves your health, by allowing all API functions built into your body to run as requested.

      I took like one biology class in 1995 and I failed it. Salt accordingly.

      • by Lotana (842533)

        Yeah, where's that "I am a biologist, ask me questions" person?

        That is a good question. She was a very good contributer to the discussions. Anyone remembers her username?

        • Samantha Wright (nt) (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Filler
          • by Lotana (842533)

            Right. She is still with us and active.

            Come on Samantha, come to our rescue! Please put the information into simple terms and give us a car analogy because this summary badly needs one.

            Is caffein like normal unleaded fuel which you need lots to acheive top performance.and exercise is high octane thus more efficient to get the same results? What are those Metabolic Genes? Are they like accellerator inputs to the engine? Help us out!

            • She's probably just now getting to work, seeing as she's Canadian and has a real day job.

              • Pfft. Summer job. I spend most of my day waiting for lecture to start and avoiding horrible Databases classes. Still in fourth year. Thanks for the vaguely stalkerish awareness, though. :)
                • There aren't a whole lot of female biologists on /.; I figure we should back each other up. It wasn't my intent to be stalker-y, but you're right, consolidating the info wasn't very polite. My apologies.

                  • It's really not a problem, just unexpected. :) I concur with your proposal, and am curious as to the nature of your work at the previously-mentioned R&D lab that pays under $20/hr?
                    • I'm not in the field at the moment. The DH is working on his PhD and so I took what I could get, which was in inkjet printer material dev. They needed somebody with microscope and cleanroom experience and excellent attention to very small details, and I had those in spades. The low pay is due to being a contract employee rather than a regular, and being located in a cheap smallish town. Around here, I'm actually considered to be making pretty darn good money.

                    • Noted. Personally I can't hold a pipette still enough to load a gel, so I'm pretty helpless in the lab... but it remains a constant source of amusement how you can go to the ends of the earth looking for a scientific or engineering discipline that appears to have nothing to do with your line of work, and discover that they very much do—I never thought I would be doing next-gen sequence assembly for a lab that's technically part of the psychiatry department. (And indeed, around here that's certainly no
            • Unfortunately this one calls for a computer analogy—most things work better that way—but I'm ... hey wait, I can give you a road analogy. It's not as good, but I'm pretty short on road analogies, so I'll take it.

              Methylation is like a 'DO NOT ENTER' sign placed in front of a road. There are lots of roads that are blocked off: roads that lead to Centralia [wikipedia.org], roads that the city started repairing but never finished, highway bypasses that are too steep to use safely in the winter, and so on.

              The genes

        • Samantha Wright [slashdot.org]
      • Re:Translation? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @08:53PM (#39282699) Homepage Journal

        As requested, I put a car-related analogy here [slashdot.org]. Since you technically asked a slightly different question, though, I'll give you a computer analogy to round things out.

        Imagine you had an incredibly weird job scheduler that evaluated a huge probabilistic boolean expression, and then ran a given program afterwards if the expression evaluated to true. Then imagine that it ran this check several million times per second, and that all of the programs currently running had access to all of the variables used by all of the conditions, and could change them at any time. This is, essentially, how the cell decides what genes to express normally. No gene is ever expressed with 0% probability or 100% efficiency.

        Methylation is like commenting out individual lines of code. An effect similar to block comments—with the same hilarious consequences if you make a typo in the end tag—is produced by another mechanism called an intron. We don't have to worry about this for the time being. Typically methylation applies to the header of a gene to prevent it from ever getting expressed (and to save on methyl groups) and the whole gene isn't methylated out.

        The other thing you need to know about biology is that 'running' a program actually consists of copying a sequence of 6-bit numbers and then sending that copy to a synthesizer, which maps those 6-bit numbers onto a list of 20 small nanobot parts, and produces a string of these parts glued together. (3 of the 64 numbers are reserved for a special fake robot part adapter that causes the synthesizer to break apart, effectively stopping the synthesis.) The copy of the sequence used by the synthesizer also has a special header tag and a magic number, and most of the time the synthesizer is so lousy that it skips over it and just ejects the transcript completely. Some really strong header tags use sticky numbers to try and counteract this by slowing it down. Finally, the string of parts assembles itself by exploiting quantum electric effects that we still don't fully understand.

        This, for fairly obscure reasons, is called the Central Dogma. The only actual part of the above that's metaphorical is the claim that there are variables—in fact, it's actually nanobots that physically attach themselves to the DNA. They're not very good at sticking, though, so it's a fair gamble as to whether or not they'll apply at a given moment. (Also, the nanobots are really called proteins, the synthesizer is called a ribosome, the 6-bit numbers are called codons, the robot parts are called amino acids, synthesis is called translation, the 'sticky numbers' are called Kozak sequences, and the magic number is "AUG".)

        In this case, the body is uncommenting a handful of specialized genes that it only wants turned on when lots of resources are available. We believe that the caffeine tells the body to speed up usage of one particular common resource, called ATP. You don't want every gene in the body to be unmethylated, though: most of them only work properly in one type of cell in one part of the body, and many of them don't even work properly because they've fallen into severe disrepair, or even been corrupted. Even these genes could be harmful under the wrong conditions—giving caffeine to someone who's starving to death will only make him or her starve faster.

        I hope that helps!

        (One question I used to get a lot from students doing work in single-celled organisms was how the body can tell which tissue is which. The answer is very elegant to a computer scientist, but baffling to a biologist who hasn't done specialized research: different arguments passed in recursive calls. When the parent stem cell splits in two, it's programmed to turn variables on and off depending on which half the chromosomes are in.)

    • by Anonymous Coward

      In America, you inherit your genes from your parents.
      In Soviet Lysenkoisim, the genes of production belong to the working class!

    • by unjedai (966274)
      No kidding. What is this "exercise" thingy?
      • It's "somewhat similar" to a near-lethal dose.

        Naturally slashdot'rs avoid it just like they avoid most other "near lethal" things.
    • http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn21544-exercise-instantly-boosts-fatbusting-genes.html?DCMP=OTC-rss&nsref=health [newscientist.com]

      Now there is no excuse to avoid the gym: just one hour of exercise instantly changes your genes to boost the breakdown of fat.

      Juleen Zierath and Romain Barrès at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, and colleagues looked for epigenetic changes – the addition of a methyl group to genes – in muscle cells during strenuous exercise. To do so, the team collected bio

    • by lythander (21981)

      I'm pretty sure that it says that exercise ramps up your metabolism, and so does caffeine, but exercise is less likely to kill you in the process. That this happens isn't even remotely surprising, nor a new development. What seems new is that it is taking place at such a low level in the metabolic process (i.e. at the genetic level.) I think.

  • What the heck does it mean? Even the linked Wikipedia article is a mass of technobabble understandable only to subject matter experts. How about something to tell us what these changes to gene expression (whatever that is) mean in human readable terms.
    • by geekoid (135745)

      you sig:

      You can recover from a bad product, you can't recover from a missed market window.

      • Further off-topic:

        Sure you can. Apple wasn't even close to being the first with their mp3 players or their smart-phones. Similar analogies exist in other markets.

    • Re:OK, but.... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by OSU ChemE (974181) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @07:27PM (#39268127) Journal
      IANAB (biochemist) but based on the article, methylation of a gene generally reduces its activity. In this case, exercising, forcing contractions in cultured cells, or near lethal does of caffeine in cell cultures resulted in less methylation on some genes involved in energy metabolism, presumably increasing how much they are expressed. The article does note that these genes may still be expressed when methylated.

      Or if that's still unreadable, exercise changes how much some genes are active in muscle cells.
    • What the heck does it mean? Even the linked Wikipedia article is a mass of technobabble understandable only to subject matter experts. How about something to tell us what these changes to gene expression (whatever that is) mean in human readable terms.

      No. Sorry, but this is not the information you're looking for. You can go about your business. How can we mad scientists create our army of supermen (and women) if every Tom, Dick, and Harry can understand the user manual?

    • by crymeph0 (682581)
      Drink lots of coffee before hopping on the treadmill and you'll wake up with super strength and the ability to climb walls. Make it a double espresso and you can also shoot sticky goo from your wrists.
  • a pill form of exercise.

    • From what I gather from the summary, the amount of caffeine required to have the same effect as exercising would give you no choice but to get up and move. I mean, have you ever successfully remained calm after downing a whole pot of coffee?
      • by Endo13 (1000782)

        I've never noticed any effects on my body from caffeine, and I've consumed fairly large amounts before. So it makes me wonder if the caffeine is still having the type of effects described in the article but just no noticable effects, or drastically diminished effects overall.

      • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @07:54PM (#39268405) Homepage Journal

        I drank 300 cups once. At that moment I was perfectly calm, and ran so fast I rescued my friends from a fire.

        Anyways, My point is the more we understand how genes are expressed, and what they do, and the more we understand the chemical effects of exercise, we will be able to replace exercise with a pill.

        I didn't not mean to imply we should all be taking a caffeine pill every 22 minutes.

        Right now, I'll stick to loosing weight the old fashion way.. amphetamines.

    • Re:Another step to (Score:4, Informative)

      by DigiShaman (671371) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @08:02PM (#39268511) Homepage

      You burn a more calories sleeping for 8 hours than you do running for 30 minutes at 8 MPH. So you can lose weight by simply eating less food without performing any exercises at all. But that's not the point of mentioning this. What is important about exercising is to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system. A proper diet, genetics, and cholesterol medication can help. But really, never discount the benefits of exercising. And it doesn't even have to be high impact either. Swimming is an excellent way to stay healthy.

      • Simply dieting and simply exercising; either one of these are known to fail a great deal of the time, in most people. The only way to be sure is to do both.

        For example, dieting alone leads to metabolic drops and starvation responses which are hard to cope with.

        Exercising alone most often results in various compensation behaviors.

        Both together are untouchable.

        Anyway, you calorie burn example is a bit flawed. You are presuming that the measured calorie expenditure of the 30 minute 8MPH run is all the calories

      • Most of us would rather be well-toned than waif-like. Therefore it's not just about burning calories but building muscle. And unless you want to starve yourself, it's much easier to build muscle.

        Pearson and Shaw claim that plummeting growth hormone levels is why people over 30 find exercise less beneficial in toning their bodies.
        They also claim that supplements promoting growth hormone release increase/restore this ability.

        This latter claim has been demonstrated in many animals including pigs:
        http://www.s [springerlink.com]

    • by mikael_j (106439)

      I'd rather take a good Myostatin inhibitor over a dose of caffeine so high it might kill me.

  • In the post title. Thanks for your attention.

  • So what? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Chemisor (97276) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @07:37PM (#39268217)

    We've known for decades that there are many mechanisms for regulating what cells produce. This regulation happens at all stages of protein synthesis, from unwinding the DNA from the chromatin to excreting it outside the cell. Methylation of the promoters is merely an example of this regulation. It is not changing your genetic code and making you a mutant. It is a simple "on/off" switch, no different from having a protein recognize a particular sequence on the promoter and sticking to it. And, of course, no one should be surprized at the blindingly obvious finding that exercise regulates expression of genes related to metabolism.

    All this research is "exciting" only because it identifies the regulation pathway and thereby opens the possibility of direct intervention in it. Soon there might be drugs that let you sloth around on the couch watching TV all day long, while making the body think it has been working out eight hours a day. And maybe these (very expensive) drugs may even succeed at intervening in all the places regular exercise does, from growing your muscles, to reducing fat deposits, to increasing blood supply throughout the body. Then all those slobs that are dying in droves today would suddenly become healthy (and broke) hardbodies, who will delight in stuffing lockers with the laid off nerds who created those drugs (and were no longer needed thereafter). Yes, nerds like you, dear Slashdot reader. And oh, how you'll cry! And oh, how I'll say I told you so.

    • Then all those slobs that are dying in droves today would suddenly become healthy (and broke) hardbodies, who will delight in stuffing lockers with the laid off nerds who created those drugs (and were no longer needed thereafter). Yes, nerds like you, dear Slashdot reader. And oh, how you'll cry! And oh, how I'll say I told you so.

      Yes, I think said nerds will steer well away from these drugs. It's not that we've spent more time on mental than physical fitness during our lives. We _want_ to look like this!

  • How can this be possible? Many of the kind folks on Slashdot have informed me that I am stupid for thinking that there are different metabolism. Even more so for thinking that what you ingest would have any effect on this mythical 'metabolism'. They kindly refer me to the laws of thermodynamics and how it states that weight is strictly a matter of the number of calories burned through exercise vs. the number of calories consumed.
    • by xstonedogx (814876) <xstonedogx@gmail.com> on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @07:55PM (#39268421)

      Your metabolism helps determine the number of calories you burn. Exercise burns calories directly and also increases your resting metabolism. Weight is still determined by calories in and calories out. As far as I know, there is nothing specific you can eat that is proven to boost your metabolism. While caffeine seems to have an effect on gene expression when taken in near-lethal amounts and injected directly into muscle, it's current use in diet pills is as an upper, diuretic, and appetite suppressant.

      None of this violates the laws of thermodynamics. Although, if it did, The Matrix would suddenly make a lot more sense.

      • by Guppy (12314) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @10:06PM (#39269873)

        As far as I know, there is nothing specific you can eat that is proven to boost your metabolism.

        Nonsense. A dose of something like, say, 2,4-Dinitrophenol will absolutely increase your metabolic rate. Quite dramatically, and potentially to the point of lethal hyperthermia. On a side note, given DNP's effect on muscular intracellular Ca++ levels, I suspect it could have a demethylating effect similar to that obtained with caffeine used.

        • Usually when people say "eat," they don't mean "ingest chemical substance." Welcome to English, where indeed the OP was correct.

          • by adolf (21054)

            Have you seen the ingredients label for a "food product" lately? Sometimes I read them just so I can have fun trying to pronounce the names of the chemical substances I'm ingesting.

      • by BenSnyder (253224) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @11:54PM (#39270843) Homepage

        "Weight is still determined by calories in and calories out."

        Not true. Weight is determined by the insulin response triggered by an increase in blood sugar. Calories in/calories out is a good rough guide but Adkins adherents (and the previous low carb diets that have preceded it, starting with the Banting diet [wikipedia.org]) have known for a long time that the endocrine system is the major player in weight gain/loss.

        Gary Taubes has done a lot of tremendous writing in covering this topic.

        Check this article out if you're interested for more. [nytimes.com]

        • by russotto (537200)

          Not true. Weight is determined by the insulin response triggered by an increase in blood sugar. Calories in/calories out is a good rough guide but Adkins adherents (and the previous low carb diets that have preceded it, starting with the Banting diet) have known for a long time that the endocrine system is the major player in weight gain/loss.

          Atkins dieters eat fewer calories and lose weight that way. Fat and protein make you feel full with fewer calories than carbs.

          • -1 Misinformed. Seriously, read Taubes. Or Protein Power, that has a section on the science of the insulin response. Heck, Google for the Protein Power blog, there's a lot of good info and links there.
            • by ceoyoyo (59147)

              Or you could read the many articles by people with actual relevant qualifications that are critical of Taubes and Atkins.

              Or just be suspicious of any diet that says fruit is bad and vegetables are negotiable.

              • I have, and I do. There's a lot of politics involved, and consequently, some bad science. People fudge, so you have to look at methodology and analysis. See what the researchers set out to prove. As far as I can tell, the least-fudged results from the better-designed peer-reviewed studies indicate that low-carb diets are good for you, and really do help you burn fat and/or lose weight in a healthy, non-self-cannibalistic way; dietary cholesterol isn't bad for you; dietary saturated fat isn't bad for you (tr

                • by ceoyoyo (59147)

                  Glucose is good for you, in appropriate amounts. Your brain, and the rest of your body, like to use it for energy. The problem comes in when you get too much. If ALL you were going to eat was glucose, you'd need quite a bit. You don't need as much because, as you say, you get a lot from other sources.

                  Carbs aren't bad, excessive carbs are bad. The problem with Atkins et. al. is that they don't advise moderation, they advise extremism. Atkins called for NO fruit. NO or very few vegetables. But go ahea

        • by ceoyoyo (59147)

          The Atkins diet is a low calorie diet. Even if it did have some effect on metabolism, it's still just increasing the calories out side of the equation.

        • Weight is still determined by calories in and calories out.

          Not true. Weight is determined by the insulin response triggered by an increase in blood sugar.

          And all this time I thought that weight was determined mainly by mass and gravitational pull.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      More correctly: You can't gain more weight then the calories you consume. And this in no way counters that.

      Now, you may be able to maximized the amount of calories from the good, and THATs metabolism.

      SO maybe one person shits away more fat, and pisses away more water then someone else consumer the same food. And some things (like meds. and exercise) and adjust that, but you CAN NOT gain more weight the the calories you consume.

    • by Jmc23 (2353706)
      Kindness doesn't have anything to do with intelligence or knowledge. Slashdot is full of religious science zealots who parrot 'facts' unthinkingly, usually having no direct knowledge of the field and consequently very outdated information.

      I can't wait for when people discover the difference between people who usually use liver glycogen and those who use muscle glycogen and how you can switch from one source to the next.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    There is no proof that exercise improves longevity. If it were the case, then I would expect to see body builders living the longest, which is not the case. Longevity appears to be about moderation and happiness.

    • by dbc (135354)

      Body builders are trying to build bulk is specific ways. They don't necessarily have aerobic fitness, or maximum strength like a competitive weight lifter -- although I once was helping a friend move and one of the other helpers was a competitive body builder, and he certainly was *very* helpful when it came time to move the piano and the china cabinet.

      My daughter's track coach holds the women's indoor records for long jump, 200M, and (I think) 300M hurdles in the Master's 50-54 age group. You have never

    • by laron (102608)

      IIRC, (sadly I can't rmember where I read that) fit people do not actually live longer, but they die healthier. That may not sound like much, but if you ever saw the the difference between old and sick and old and healthy people, you might think it worth it.

    • Aerobic exercise (with a little anaerobic thrown in) is definitely great, in moderation. But there is such a thing as too much exercise (especially anaerobic, the kind that body builders do a lot).
  • by John Hasler (414242) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @07:58PM (#39268465) Homepage

    ...and then run a mile. You'll live forever.

  • by ananyo (2519492) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @10:06AM (#39274323)

    Hi - digging a bit deeper into this story -
    1. Demethylation - removing methyl groups from DNA - generally activates genes.
    2. In this case, the scientists are not 100% sure what demethylation of these genes means - it could mean they're being activated but they're not sure yet. More research required...
    3. The observation that there are these sorts of epigenetic changes though in response to exercise is in itself really interesting. You do some exercise and within minutes you get changes to your DNA? That's pretty awesome.
    4. The metabolic genes cited are not directly involved with metabolism - they're on various pathways involved in metabolism. So it's quite possible that what they're seeing is an uptick in genes linked to energy production.

    As for the New Scientist article
    "Now there is no excuse to avoid the gym: just one hour of exercise instantly changes your genes to boost the breakdown of fat."
    There's no evidence of that at all. It may not have anything to do with 'fat' - they're genes involved in metabolism - I think that's all we know.

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