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And other surprising insights from the social sciences

Weight lessons from hunter-gatherers

As the obesity epidemic grows, one of the big debates is where the problem lies: our sedentary Western lifestyle, or our gluttonous Western diet? By monitoring a tribe of hunter-gatherers in Africa and comparing them to Western populations, a team of researchers discovered that humans generally burn about the same number of calories per day, regardless of what kind of society they live in. The stark conclusion: “Even dramatic differences in lifestyle may have a negligible effect,” and it’s diet that matters.

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