Watch out, Colorado
The scientists ferried 20 overweight, middle-aged men by train and cable car to a research station perched 1,000 feet below the peak of Germany’s highest mountain, Zugspitze. During the week-long stay, the men could eat and drink as much as they liked and were forbidden from any exercise other than leisurely strolls. The team measured the men’s weight, metabolic rate, levels of hunger and satiety hormones before, during, and after their mountain retreat.
After a week up high, the subjects lost an average of 3 pounds. A month later, they were still 2 pounds lighter. The sceintists’ data showed this was likely because they ate about 730 calories less at high altitudes than they did at normal elevations. They may have felt less hungry, in part, because levels of leptin, the satiety hormone, surged during the stay, while grehlin, the hunger hormone, remained unchanged. Their metabolic rate also spiked, meaning they burned more calories than they usually did.
I love the imagery of “ferrying” the test subjects. Like they were cargo, or veal. “Easy there, young man, you’ll only make yourself tired and stringy. Now, to check on the free-range children.”
Anyway, it’s not all beer and skittles. It’s not clear if fat was lost (vs muscle or water) and there are certain risks involved.