Doctor vs. Master vis-à-vis Diet & Exercise

From this column:

I went and saw my new, HMO-assigned doctor this week (my old one having passed away) regarding my breathing problem arising from a hiatal hernia/GERD. One thing he brought up is that I need to lose weight, something I already knew. I told him that since acid in the lungs makes breathing difficult and painful, I can’t exercise, and therefore can’t lose weight. Here’s what he told me:

Of course, it’s a little hard for me to take diet and exercise advice from a 350lb doctor who looks like Violet Beauregarde, only not as blue. But still, he’s a doctor, and one that my neurologist described as “excellent”.

So before I go looking for a new one (he didn’t even help with my breathing problems), has medical wisdom of exercise vs. diet changed in the past 21 years?

He’s an idiot. One hour of hard exercise daily to lose two pounds in three months? There are 7000 calories in 2 pounds. There are about 90 days in 3 months. You do the math.

Do not take weight loss/exercise advice from this man.

This isn’t exactly the right question to ask. Our picture of nutrition, exercise and related topics has changed in the last twenty years, but it’s hard to tell how much of that has made it into the medical schools. Dr. Berardi’s website is a good place to start if you want to learn a little bit about the state of the art.

More specifically, this article gives a pretty good overview of what we know about aerobic exercise and fat loss, and how aerobic exercise fits into an overall program. Your doctor’s right that it’s not going to strip the pounds off you, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not valuable.