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7 Metabolic Myths: Evolutionary Energetics in Human Ecology and Health

This conversation was led by Herman Pontzer, Associate Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology at Duke University. Obesity and related diseases are a global health crisis, accounting for the large majority of mortality worldwide. Unhealthy weight gain is fundamentally a metabolic problem: eating more calories than we expend. Unfortunately, public health policy and strategies for tackling obesity, as well as popular diet and exercise programs, often get the science of metabolism wrong. In this talk, Pontzer discussed recent advances in the science of human metabolism and dispel these metabolic myths. Our metabolism is not a simple machine but a complex and dynamic product of our evolution. This evolutionary perspective is essential for understanding the role of diet and exercise in health and disease.

After the talk, perspectives on how the research applies in a clinical setting were presented by Erik Willis, research scientist in the UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.

Herman Pontzer in a Zoom meeting Erik Willis in a Zoom meeting

Resources discussed:

  • Burn by Herman Pontzer

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