Saturday, November 8, 2014

In the Short Run, Diet Is More Important Than Exercise for Weight Loss and Weight Control, but ...

A 2009 New York Time magazine article concluded that exercise alone will not promote an appreciable amount of weight loss. The article's author suggested that it is the food you eat that counts in weight loss, not your physical activity. Most people who have looked at weight loss studies agree that exercise alone is not as effective, in losing weight, as exercise plus a low calorie diet. But a recent study shows that exercise becomes more important to weight loss and weight control as time passes. In fact, the combination of diet and exercise becomes more effective after about a year.

According to the study, in the short run, say less than a year, behavioral weight management programs that use diet alone are as effective as weight management programs that use both diet and exercise. However, in the long term, say a year or more, combining diet with exercise is the most effective way to lose and maintain the weight loss. But exercise alone was not as effective as diet alone or diet plus exercise for any period of the research.

Exercise, alone, may not be as effective in weight loss as diet because of defenses the human body has built up over time. According to some research, our bodies are able to adjust, for example, to reduced energy intake. Millions of years of evolution have enabled our bodies to "adapt to our daily routines and find ways to keep overall energy expenditure in check.”

Still, exercise is an important part of losing weight and maintaining weight loss in the long term. Further, without any weight loss, exercise is important to mental health. Therefore, the combination of a healthy, low calorie diet and frequent exercise is a winning approach to long-term good health, including weight loss maintenance. And weight loss service providers should always make this clear.


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