Sex and Calories

Authors of an article in the NEJM (summarized here) looked at some of the fallacies and dogmas behind the obesity challenge.  Here are some of the things they exposed:

  • Small changes in diet or exercise lead to large, long-term weight changes. Fact: The body adapts to changes, so small steps to cut calories don’t have the same effect over time, studies suggest. At least one outside expert agrees with the authors that the “small changes” concept is based on an “oversimplified” 3,500-calorie rule, that adding or cutting that many calories alters weight by one pound.
  • School gym classes have a big impact on kids’ weight. Fact: Classes typically are not long, often or intense enough to make much difference.
  • Losing a lot of weight quickly is worse than losing a little slowly over the long term. Fact: Although many dieters regain weight, those who lose a lot to start with often end up at a lower weight than people who drop more modest amounts.
  • Snacking leads to weight gain. Fact: No high quality studies support that, the authors say.
  • Regularly eating breakfast helps prevent obesity. Fact: Two studies found no effect on weight and one suggested that the effect depended on whether people were used to skipping breakfast or not.
  • Setting overly ambitious goals leads to frustration and less weight loss. Fact: Some studies suggest people do better with high goals.
And then the big one:
  • Claims that sex burns 100 to 300 calories are bogus since the only study that scientifically measured the energy output (on a man) found that sex lasted six minutes on average and burned a mere 21 calories, about as much as walking.

Ouch.  Now that can’t be right, can it?  What about if you are alone?  I know that I can be very vigorous…er…I mean I heard that some people….forget it.   I’ve said too much.


Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  1 comment for “Sex and Calories

  1. Pat
    February 3, 2013 at 10:03 am

    No, no, no…the calories are burned doing all the extra work to afford the flowers, dinner, diamonds, and whatever other inducements lead to the big finale (not to mention the extra progeny-associated costs)

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