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Exercise and Caffeine May Activate Metabolic Genes

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the fifty-cups-of-coffee-or-exercise-'tis-the-question dept.

Science 148

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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Gay Niggers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39267909)

first pot roast

Exercising easier? Really? (4, Funny)

alesplin (1376141) | more than 2 years ago | (#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...

Re:Exercising easier? Really? (3, Funny)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268009)

Right, because nobody ever gets fat from Mountain Dew.

Re:Exercising easier? Really? (1, Flamebait)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268169)

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 spaced is not something anyone other than the Powersauce people would consider.

Re:Exercising easier? Really? (4, Informative)

babblefrog (1013127) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268251)

A 20 oz Mountain Dew contains approximately 19 tsp of sugar. Calibrate accordingly.

Re:Exercising easier? Really? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39268499)

Keep in mind that it's 60% fructose, which is broken down by the liver and at a fixed rate.

Having 50 bottles of sugar soda simply will cause your liver to be damaged in much the same way drinking a large amount of alcohol would (over the long term).

Of course, you would go into insulin shock long before that... And die from caffeine overdose and stomach rupture and about 100 other problems with this discussion.

Re:Exercising easier? Really? (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 2 years ago | (#39271347)

Good thing I stocked up on Jolt cola long ago. I just knew a good thing wouldn't last, so I made sure I had a 50 year supply...

Re:Exercising easier? Really? (3, Interesting)

marnues (906739) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Exercising easier? Really? (2)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268355)

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 gain weight. unless you ate nothing else and exercised. IN which case Diabetes will be along really soon.

All sugar sodas are bad for you. not saying you should drink them, just that people need to stay informed.

Re:Exercising easier? Really? (2)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268453)

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 cocaine illegal, medically they are identical (aside from minor issues, like dosing and some incidental effects of cocaine that have not been well studied because of the stigma, like topical analgesic effects).

It's like saying this glass of water is just like the hover damn.

More like "this glass of water is just like a small glass pitcher of water."

All sugar sodas are bad for you. not saying you should drink them, just that people need to stay informed.

It's not that there's anyone on the planet that doesn't know, it's that nobody cares. There's a difference.

Re:Exercising easier? Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39268479)

We have hovering dams but still no hover cars?

Re:Exercising easier? Really? (1)

multiben (1916126) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268443)

That is SOOOOOOOO wrong I think I might go blind.

Re:Exercising easier? Really? (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268513)

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 refuting that, just indicating that they don't like my conclusion.

Re:Exercising easier? Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39268923)

Your conclusion is asinine. Drinking excessive MD *will* necessarily make you fat. A teaspoon of sugar will not cause weight loss. Cite a study from any high impact journal suggesting otherwise and I'll eat my hat.

Re:Exercising easier? Really? (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268983)

Oh no, an AC demanding cites while providing none, whatever will I do?

Re:Exercising easier? Really? (2)

Randle_Revar (229304) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269891)

Provide some damn sources, hopefully

Re:Exercising easier? Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39270257)

If you're losing lots of weight while drinking excessive amounts of mountain dew, then you're probably insulin resistant, and blindness or necropsy will result soon.

Re:Exercising easier? Really? (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268305)

"Exercising is far easier if you ask me."

I'll take my chances.

Exercise makes your jeans bigger... (1)

linatux (63153) | more than 2 years ago | (#39267941)

& your genes runnier?

Let's stop exercising? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#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? ;)

Re:Let's stop exercising? (4, Funny)

dr2chase (653338) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269919)

It'll make you stranger, more likely.

Translation? (5, Insightful)

slasho81 (455509) | more than 2 years ago | (#39267993)

Can we get an English translation of the summary?

Re:Translation? (4, Funny)

Deathnerd (1734374) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268063)

Agreed. I can't make heads or tails whether having my DNA promoter regions methylated or demethylated is good for me or not.

Re:Translation? (-1)

evilRhino (638506) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268155)

Being methylated activates the gene. It depends on the context if it is good or bad. For example, a growth gene might be good during development, but might be bad in the case of cancer.

Re:Translation? (5, Informative)

biodata (1981610) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268323)

I think it may be the other way round, if I have it right - methylation of the promoter region stops the gene being activated. The promoter is the DNA 'upstream' of the gene, usually, where the trasnscription machinery binds to begin reading off the gene and producing messenger RNA. If the promoter is methylated, the DNA doesn't unwind to provide access to the machinery. The researchers found that 'useful' metabolic genes were demethylated (so activated) by exercise and caffeine.

Re:Translation? (5, Funny)

rgbrenner (317308) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268735)

slashdot... where two posts saying exactly the opposite of each other are both marked +5 informative.

Re:Translation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39271113)

Slashdot... Where people complain about people not being smart enough for democracy* but can't remember or take the time to look up a high-school biology concept.

*http://politics.slashdot.org/story/12/03/05/1348203/scientists-say-people-arent-smart-enough-for-democracy-to-flourish

Re:Translation? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39268373)

Being methylated activates the gene. It depends on the context if it is good or bad. For example, a growth gene might be good during development, but might be bad in the case of cancer.

IAAB, and you have this backwards. Methylation is associated with gene silencing, and demethylation with activation. The extra methyl groups may in many cases inhibit the binding of transcription factors, which tend to favor canonical, unmodified DNA. This is also mentioned in TFA.

Of course, in biology, nothing is certain, and I'd bet that someone's found a transcription factor somewhere that binds to methylated DNA and preferentially activates genes in methylated regions, but the general trend is that demethylation promotes activation.

Mostly right. (2)

HiggsBison (678319) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268873)

and I'd bet that someone's found a transcription factor somewhere that binds to methylated DNA and ...

I believe there are inhibitor regions which will, when not methylated, attract some special-purpose snotball (yeah, I'm gonna call that a technical term) which interferes with transcription. And then when methylated, these inhibitor regions fail to interfere.

Re:Translation? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39268579)

Being methylated activates the gene. It depends on the context if it is good or bad. For example, a growth gene might be good during development, but might be bad in the case of cancer.

Actually, that's precisely backwards. from TFA:

"Methylated DNA is generally associated with genes for which expression has been switched off. “When a promoter is heavily methylated,” Zierath explains, “that may somehow make it less accessible to transcription factors” — proteins that control the expression of one or more genes. In this way, Zierath says, methylation can “modulate or slow down the expression of genes”."

This is new and relevant because we once thought methylation levels were constant in adulthood. This shows that they are a dynamic part of gene expression.

Exercise switches on gene expression in muscles. (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 2 years ago | (#39270421)

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.

Re:Translation? (1)

slashmojo (818930) | more than 2 years ago | (#39272145)

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

Re:Translation? (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268255)

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.

Re:Translation? (1)

Lotana (842533) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268623)

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) (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39268761)

Filler

Re:Samantha Wright (nt) (2)

Lotana (842533) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269619)

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!

Re:Translation? (2)

MisterMidi (1119653) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268861)

Samantha Wright [slashdot.org]

Re:Translation? (3, Funny)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269313)

Excellent!
I've been looking for Miss Wright for quite some time!

Re:Translation? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39268445)

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

Re:Translation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39268471)

A near lethal dose of caffeine can have similar effects on rat muscles as strenuous exercise.

Re:Translation? (1)

unjedai (966274) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268765)

No kidding. What is this "exercise" thingy?

Re:Translation? (1)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269331)

It's "somewhat similar" to a near-lethal dose.

Naturally slashdot'rs avoid it just like they avoid most other "near lethal" things.

Better explanation in New Scientist (3, Informative)

QuincyDurant (943157) | more than 2 years ago | (#39270345)

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 biopsies from the thigh muscles of eight men who led relatively sedentary lives, both before and after an hour of exercise.

Several genes involved in fat metabolism that were methylated before the exercise lost their methyl group. Such demethylation allows genes to more easily make proteins, which suggests that more proteins involved in the breakdown of fat are being made after exercise, says Zierath.

The group was surprised to see these effects happen so quickly. They think calcium, produced in muscle cells during exercise, may be involved since subjecting the same biopsies to caffeine – which also increases calcium in muscles – caused the same demethylation.

Unfortunately, you would get caffeine intoxication before gaining the same effects from coffee as an hour-long workout, says Zierath.

Not exactly plain, nose-picker English, but I sorta get it: exercise is good for you.

OK, but.... (0)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 2 years ago | (#39267995)

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.

Re:OK, but.... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268053)

you sig:

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

Re:OK, but.... (1)

evil_aaronm (671521) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268301)

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.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39268997)

Further, look at how much further into the shit that RIM dug themselves by rushing their Playbook tablet. Taking the time to put an actual email app on it would have made people a lot less pissed than providing a tool that couldn't handle the basic needs. Rushing to get it out before they even had email on it was a big mistake.

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

OSU ChemE (974181) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268127)

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.

Re:OK, but.... (2)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268313)

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?

Re:OK, but.... (2)

crymeph0 (682581) | more than 2 years ago | (#39271007)

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.

Lamark was right after all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39267999)

So Lamark was right after all.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Baptiste_Lamarck

Re:Lamark was right after all (1)

OSU ChemE (974181) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268159)

That would be a stretch. More like he wasn't completely wrong, in that epigenetics and methylation can be passed along to offspring. But even then, this article has nothing to do with that, considering changes in the methylation of genes in leg muscles would have no effect on the genes in zygotes.

Re:Lamark was right after all (1)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268335)

Agreed. Darwin used the phrase, "use, disuse, etc." frequently in OTOOS, although he never explained the "etc."

Re:Lamark was right after all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39269103)

Banjo [wikia.com] will reveal the prophecy of "etc." at the proper time.

Re:Lamark was right after all (3, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268749)

That would be a stretch. More like he wasn't completely wrong, in that epigenetics and methylation can be passed along to offspring.

Seems to me like "he wasn't completely wrong" is modern biologists bending over backwards for the guy. Epigenetics seems to resemble Lamarckianism only at the most high-level single-sentence overview of "traits acquired in life can be passed on".

Considering how Lamarckianism was supposed to be the primary driver of inherited traits, I'd say it's more like "his flirtations with reality were due to chance alone".

Re:Lamark was right after all (1)

OSU ChemE (974181) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269141)

Guess I underplayed it too much. Personally, I'd say Lamarckianism is complete trash but, as you said, he happened to throw a dart and hit something that bore a vague resemblance to reality.

Another step to (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268031)

a pill form of exercise.

Re:Another step to (1)

Deathnerd (1734374) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268087)

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?

Re:Another step to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39268179)

My classmate consumes at least that much caffeine and I still have to prod him awake when the professor looks in our direction.

Re:Another step to (2)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268417)

That because you brain adjust for expect caffeine consumption. The perks of caffeine are very short.

Re:Another step to (1)

Endo13 (1000782) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268363)

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.

Re:Another step to (4, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268405)

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 (3, Informative)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268511)

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.

Re:Another step to (2)

Courageous (228506) | more than 2 years ago | (#39271963)

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 that run will cause to be expended. This is emphatically not true; for example, that 30 minute run will cause calorie burns during that 8 hours sleep you mentioned to be quite a lot higher. Weight lifting is even better, as you could discern from TFA.

Re:Another step to (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 2 years ago | (#39272149)

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

Exercise OR Caffeine (1)

dcollins (135727) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268041)

In the post title. Thanks for your attention.

Re:Exercise OR Caffeine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39268235)

The post title could be improved, but replacing "and" with "or" makes less sense, not more. They are saying "these two things", even though it could also be read as "both of these things together". Your version with "or" would add all kinds of ambiguity and cases we know aren't meant to be included. Given that we have the context of TFS to further clarify, I think it should be left as it stands. Now stop mugging for attention.

Re:Exercise OR Caffeine (1)

biodata (1981610) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268365)

mod parent up for logic

So what? (4, Interesting)

Chemisor (97276) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39268509)

It's exciting because the idea of gene expression is finally making it into the mainstream scientific press. It contradicts the idea that you will still see in places (Psychology Today) that genes control everything you are, and there is nothing you can do about it.

Re:So what? (1)

Chemisor (97276) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269665)

> that genes control everything you are, and
> there is nothing you can do about it

I'm not aware of any scientist who ever held this opinion. This is more like Calvinism updated for genetics, and is as absurd in that field as it was in the original. In sane scientific circles there may be debate about how much of what you are is nature and how much nurture, but there is never any doubt that both play a significant role.

But this research has nothing whatsoever to do with that. Everyone already knew that exercise changes metabolism; this research merely describes one mechanism by which it happens. Naturally, the uneducated are still free to believe that their genes make them fat and that there is nothing they can do about it. Anybody sane knows that such arguments are nothing but a denial of reality and of responsibility for one's own health. For some people it is really hard to accept that their weight problems are little more than a direct result of their own decision to eat too much and move too little. And making a pill to assist them in this denial by artificially activating a few metabolic genes borders on being a moral hazard.

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39270077)

I'm not aware of any scientist

Well, that would fit Psychology Today.

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39270271)

lol, someone's got a case of bitterly useless PhD...

How can this be possible? (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268259)

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.

Re:How can this be possible? (4, Insightful)

xstonedogx (814876) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:How can this be possible? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39269433)

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

You're here because you already drank the caffeine, and now you're trying to understand why. You can never see past the choices you don't understand.

Re:How can this be possible? (3, Interesting)

Guppy (12314) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:How can this be possible? (1)

Courageous (228506) | more than 2 years ago | (#39271973)

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

Re:How can this be possible? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39270059)

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

Not entirely. If you damage your digestive tract by eating foods with harmful substances you will be unable to efficiently convert food into energy and have a reusultant weight gain. Also nutritional deficiencies, example lead-induced copper deficiency, make it impossible for someone to lose weight. If it were as simple as you say we would be a thin society, completely opposite of what people are experiencing in epidemic numbers.

Re:How can this be possible? (3, Insightful)

BenSnyder (253224) | more than 2 years ago | (#39270843)

"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]

Re:How can this be possible? (2)

russotto (537200) | more than 2 years ago | (#39270905)

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.

Re:How can this be possible? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268457)

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.

Re:How can this be possible? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39269307)

so, if a pound of water is consumed and the body retains it, one can subtract that off their weight since it's not possible to have gained that extra pound?

Re:How can this be possible? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39268487)

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.

Weight is strictly a matter of the number of calories burned vs. the number of calories consumed. I don't think anybody ever told you that everyone burns the same amount of calories when at rest, everyone has a different base metabolic rate. What people told you, which is still correct, is that your BMR is mostly irrelevant. You're not going to increase by 1000 calories a day by drinking a ton of coffee. If you see something that increases your metabolism, maybe it does increase your metabolism and you get an extra 100 calories...an advantage you eliminate by drinking a coke.

Re:How can this be possible? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39268613)

If you believe that the majority of people in Slashdot discussions disbelieve in the concept of various natural levels of metabolism, you're clearly misunderstanding something.

It is worth pointing out that almost everyone can be skinny given a sufficiently restricted diet and aggressive exercise. It is also nearly impossible to gain weight when eating 1800 calories unless you are bed-ridden.

Weight is strictly related to the amount of calories *absorbed* by the body vs the amount of calories *consumed* by the body.

I know some people's digestive system is more efficient in absorbing nutrients and some have a lower resting metabolism, but only a fractional percent of people have some sort of physiological problem that prevents them from maintaining normal weight.

Remember, obesity rates in some cultures are under 2%. In Mississippi, USA, it is almost 60% and I'd bet half of those people would say "wha?? metabolism!!!" :-)

Re:How can this be possible? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39268659)

How can this be possible?

How can it be possible that you don't understand what the kind folks on Slashdot were telling you or what this article is telling you?

Maybe because you're an idiot?

Re:How can this be possible? (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269839)

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.

Is exercise really good? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39268331)

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.

Re:Is exercise really good? (1)

NarcoTraficante (512390) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269659)

You answered your own question about exercise being good with your remark on moderation. I believe exercise in moderation can be great for your health. Body builders, being gym rats, hardly exemplify moderation.

Re:Is exercise really good? (1)

xstonedogx (814876) | more than 2 years ago | (#39270283)

As a bodybuilder I take exception to the term "gym rat". We are "gym capybaras" at least.

Re:Is exercise really good? (1)

NarcoTraficante (512390) | more than 2 years ago | (#39270379)

LOL, I nearly spit out my pre-workout drink. I'm off now to engage in activities that will promote demethylation of energy metabolism DNA in hopes of continuing my transformation into a capybara...

Re:Is exercise really good? (1)

dbc (135354) | more than 2 years ago | (#39270427)

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 seen a more fit 51 year old woman. Heck, you rarely see 21 year old women as fit. I predict she will outlive the 51 year old waddling blobs you see at Walmart, accidents excepted.

Re:Is exercise really good? (2)

laron (102608) | more than 2 years ago | (#39271329)

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.

So knock back a couple of Red Bulls... (4, Funny)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 2 years ago | (#39268465)

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

Why exercise when you can have coffee? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39268795)

Sure, you'll have to consume enough caffeine that you'll be dead, but...

So I was right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39270547)

I've always thought that taking a BC Powder about 30 minutes before a tennis match always helped me out. Seems I was right and didn't know it.

so don't go to get a life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39271115)

only to go get caffeine and ./

XDDD

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