First I recall hearing about it was the mid-80s book Life Extension Weight Loss Program from megavitamin proponents Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw. So this has been known of for a while.
It was also thought to be debunked because "adult humans don't have brown fat" - which, as this article makes clear, is more "don't have much". But better imaging techniques have brought brown-fat thermogenesis back around.
If you're trying to do this with vitamin/herbal supplements, I think the current trend is to use "bitter orange" instead of ephedrine. I find it's not very effective for me, but I wasn't a fan of ephedrine either.
Scientific reasoning behind the stack: http://thinksteroids.com/articles/ephedrine-targeting-beta-a...
Actually, his recommendation was swimming in cold water, which would probably be much more effective.
People spend too much time looking for a silver bullet. We already have lead bullets and they're plenty effective for 99.999% of cases.
While it's true that maintaining a caloric deficit will result in weight loss, determining the necessary deficit - and taking into consideration that you have to increase that deficit the more weight you lose - and then maintaining this is very difficult, especially for people who have lost a lot of weight.
A couple of years ago I lost about 100 pounds. Just to maintain that weight loss I have to limit myself to around 2000 calories a day and run 80k a week. I'm trying to lose another 20 pounds, but that means eating even less and exercising even more.
I admire your grit, but have you tried some weights or perhaps some high-intensity interval work?
 http://www.hussmanfitness.org/html/TLEnergySystems.html discusses the four energy systems at a high level.
It's not only unusual, it's unheard of! Elite marathoners have far lower levels of body fat than other athletes, with men clocking in at around 3%! Even unusually lean sprinters have about double that.
See the chart in this journal for a variety of athletes including marathoners compared (should be free for a few page views), p.764
I think the main reason for the misconception is that lots of people compete in marathon races and some of them are fat. So people see someone who can still run a marathon but is still fat and think, "ha they can run for hours but they're still chubby!"
But nobody really competes in a 100-400m race after school age unless they're elite or semi-elite... and obviously those guys are lean sprinting machines. That's the only kind of person we ever see sprinting. Compared to that zany uncle who decided to start marathoning upon reaching midlife, elite sprinters on TV are manimals!
If we reversed it though, and compared everyone fit enough to complete a 400m race, at any level with elite marathoners, the results would be the opposite. We'd be saying wow... those skinny marathoners can run 400m faster than most racers, and then do it again 104 more times without rest! Woah!!!
Part of the problem is that the more research that's done into exercise, the more we see that what works for one person may not be effective for someone else. A lot depends on your metabolism and the way your body responds to the various hormones that control energy use and storage.
Try Starting Strength ( http://www.amazon.com/Starting-Strength-3rd-Mark-Rippetoe/dp... ). Most people (read: me) dick around in the gym with bicep curls and nautilus machines, which is a mistake.
I got basically no results while doing that, and my improvements have been dramatic since I started SS.
As I said above: the "black box" is enormously complex but it is not observable, so it's not useful for an ordinary person. Caloric deficit works for everyone and it can be controlled easily.
TL;DR - diets based on caloric deficit don't work so well / are inherently unhealthy and there's staggering evidence that gets ignored.
It's also worth noting that Taubes is a charlatan and most of his scientific claims have been debunked.
Obviously false. See also polio, chemotherapy, etc. Taubes may be a fool, but that doesn't mean that $dissenting_statement is valid.
When I said "the only known method", I meant within the universe of things normal people attempt with the goal of losing weight.
I mentioned a control system and I meant it. Weight loss is an enormously complex system internally. Almost all of the mechanisms are unobservable.
What is observable is: food in vs weight / calliper measurements.
Paleo works for lots of people. That's awesome. But it doesn't change the fact that a large component of the weight loss is removing calories in by cutting out sugar-dense foods.
And yet another fact: there are people that could eat enormous amounts of table sugar and French fries and pork grills and whatever else is considered a calories-bomb and do so daily and not gain any extra weight and if they do, they return to a normal weight immediately after stopping this unhealthy practice.
Clearly something is missing from this picture and losing weight by starving yourself is not sustainable, even if it works for some people.
Your body will just adjust and after a certain threshold it will stop losing weight. And as soon as you break the rules, your body will put back the lost weight faster than ever before.
The (biggest) problem lies with carbohydrate-rich foods - things like white bread, potatoes, pasta.
E.g. if you eat meat and only meat (disregarding the healthiness of this approach), the daily intake of calories doesn't really matter as you will lose weight. You can also be a vegetarian - as long as you stay away from starch and sugar, you will lose weight.
Also - only thin people are suggesting that for losing weight you should eat less (in general). There are fat people out there that barely eat anything and are still fat. Spreading such lies can do real damage.
"96% of users who use Lose It! for 4 weeks lose weight" and "The average Lose It! user loses 12.3 lbs"
Its hard for me to believe that a caloric deficit doesn't work when I see a lot of data right in front of me that suggests otherwise.
24 weeks = 27.2
52 weeks = 33.8
These numbers are tricky though because the longer someone uses Lose It! the greater chance they hit their goal weight and no longer are trying to lose weight. Also, a lot of the really dedicated loggers that have been around a year or more are often high performance athletes that never intended to lose weight in the first place. They are just using the service out of discipline to their trade.
The average weight loss of all users that have achieved their goal and maintained it for at least 2 weeks is 21 pounds. This kind of backs up the idea that weight loss will slow over 52 weeks (on my service) because most people that achieved their goal only had 21 pounds to lose in the first place.
I wouldn't really want to take weight loss tips from a fat person.
I urge anyone considering weight loss to do some basic independent research to find out why. I have, I'm not posting this here to convince bad_user, this is just to add a counterpoint.
The starvation response, for example, was 'discovered' when they starved normal, healthy people for 6 months. 6 months. Let me just repeat that, normal, not overweight people, for 6 months. And even then, after all that, when they took into account muscle loss the difference in metabolism was statistically insignificant! Less than 100 cals a day. They can't even repeat the experiment now as it's considered unethical.
Another study that I saw frequently cited involved 2 people going to places like the artic! 2 people. And no debate whether the extreme cold was the reason for the metabolism drop.
And the bizarre thing about all this is there are not just a few counter examples, not a tiny amount, but millions of people losing weight through calorie restriction.
Your body will also never go into starvation mode, there are thousands of people on Reddit, for example, who do IF, intermittent fasting, they're all losing weight, often many of them gaining muscle at the same time through strength training.
Starvation response, if it even exists, is triggered in extremes, when you've lost all your body fat.
While 'Good Calories, Bad Calories' is kinda ok, there's plenty of evidence that pure calorie deficits work fine. A recent famous one is the guy who went on the twinkie diet, although I am obliged to point out this is 1 guy! Also there have been examples of people not losing weight on keto or paleo diets, the kind Taubes insists will magically make you lose weight, because they went mad on something that is calorie dense or they were small and so really have extra reason to count their calories.
Conveniently Taubes singles out nuts and diary, the two most calorie dense things that you're likely to over indulge in on his 'good calories', as not always for everyone waving his hands about insulin secretion.
I am consistently losing 2 lbs a week on a calorie deficit of 1000 calories a day. Guess what, the math adds up exactly. When I go a bit crazy on beer or food? 1lb instead of 2lb, quelle surprise, exactly what you would expect when I add up the calories. Yes there's fluctuations, yes there's water weight gains and losses. I sometimes have sandwiches for lunch, even cakes. I'm tall and have always stayed fairly fit so I can do that and still run a calorie deficit. Do those bad calories stop my weight loss? No.
One place you can find 100s of examples of weight loss on normal calorie restriction every single day is reddit.com/r/loseit. Most people there are on calorie deficits and are doing fine. Be warned that you will also find a lot of pseudo-science in the comments there too (the faq is a pretty good, no-nonsense summary).
What a lot of people report is going on a low-cal diet makes controlling hunger almost trivial. You don't have to go to the extremes of keto or paleo to achieve this. Fat fills you up, too many carbs causes insulin crashes that make you hungry again in a couple of hours. These are things I can believe in because I experience them myself. I have found this to be true, YMMV.
The most important lesson I can impart on weight loss is find what works for you. Oh and change your lifestyle permanently, if you gained weight before, diet and go back to your old life style, you'll obviously gain it again. I did.
Do NOT believe wholesale anything you read about weight loss. Including this! Some of this is probably wrong. It's still in the phase that early medicine was in, some truth, a lot of misunderstanding, lies and dubious 'scientific' studies. Including Gary Taubes.
EDIT: whoops, yes a week. Damn, a day would be good though.
Still, losing weight is not hard. Keeping it off for several years is. From what little research I have done Jenny Craig is actually the most effective long term diet and it uses calorie restriction, but also focuses on food types and eating habits. Physically weightless is not that that complex, mentally calorie restriction is vary hard to maintain after your already thin.
Presumably you meant "losing 2 lbs a week", since that would be about 7000 calories.
That's why people are looking for a silver bullet; the lead bullets are proving to be anything but effective for actually addressing the problem of overweight people.
I find it odd that the thought of running a caloric deficit in order to lose weight is "off the table" for so many people.
So body creates the exercise-fat to have a ready source of energy required for physical activity (remember, while humans were evolving there were no exercise, only physical activity needed to survive).
When I did the cold therapy, I lost weight much faster.
Ice pack on the back of the neck for 30-60 min each night while reading a book works wonders.