Research Proven Weight Loss: Diet Trumps Exercise

Diet Trumps ExerciseDiet Trumps Exercise

 Diet Is Better Than Exercise

 There is plenty of research out there that indicates that diet is better than exercise.  We’ve been taught that exercise is so important for weight loss.  I absolutely hate doing tot he gym.  The question is, is it true that diet is better than exercise to loose weight?

A lot of people think that if they exercise hard that they can eat anything that they want. This belief is a big fallacy.  Most of us do not have a teenage metabolism, and we cannot make up for our poor decision with exercise. If you want to reach your goal, healthy food choices and proper nutrition are the keys to success.  No quick fix program or fad diet will make up for the poor decision in food choices and an increase an exercise will not compensate for a weekend splurge.  

Can't Out Exercise a Bad Diet

You Can’t Out Exercise a Bad Diet

 

 

It is quite common for people not to realize the extent or the amount of calories that they consume on a daily basis. You cannot make up for a piece of cheesecake with 30 minutes of extra exercise.  In fact, a piece of cheesecake would take 12 minutes of sprinting to burn.  Most of the use cannot sprint  for 12 minutes straight.  When we choose poorly, It is easy to consume a high amount of calories in a short period, especially if the foods are calorie dense we eat mindlessly in front to the TV.  The point is we do a poor job of estimating our food intake in most instances.  

Let’s do a little math.  If you want to lose one pound per week, you need to cut 500 calories per day.  That is no easy task but could be as simple as cutting out your sugary snacks. The question is how much exercise would that be?  

Exercise required to Burn 500 Calories

Chart Exercise required to Burn 500 Calories

 

The above chart from Breaking Muscle shows that it will eat more than and hour of exercise to burn over 500 calories to meet the desire to lose 1 pound per week.   Do not let this discourage you.  There is an easy way out of this.  You need to mix you cardio and exercise with dietary changes.  It is better to do both even though diet is better than exercise.   

Research on diet versus Exercise:

  1. An article from 2000, started the dogma that exercise could produce significant weight loss by itself[1].  This research finding has recently been challenged by additional studies.   
  2. A landmark study looked at exercise vs. diet in postmenopausal females and found that the diet group lost more weight and was able to keep it off longer[2].  In fact, this study showed that women need to exercise and average of 77 hours per day to lose 2 pounds of fat per week.  This study is not an excellent study.  It missed the boat by not doing a combined group.  I think a group exercising and dieting would be superior to bother of the other groups.  
  3. Although not a placebo-controlled trial, this review looked at a combined effort with both diet and exercise and found that it was superior to diet or exercise alone[3].  
  4. This last study looked at the energy expenditure estimates, and it found that subject overestimated how may calories they burned during a given day.  This is one reason, I recommend a Fitbit or pedometer[4].  I suspect that is we looked at calories consumed we would find that subjects underestimate how much they eat.  

Although this is not a large list of studies, there are more.  I would recommend that you resort to just exercise or diet but if you have to resort to one and not the order, diet is better to create weight loss, but with exercise, it usually does not last.  

Footnotes
[1]Ross, Freeman, and Janssen, “Exercise Alone Is an Effective Strategy for Reducing Obesity and Related Comorbidities.”
[2]Friedenreich et al., “Adiposity Changes after a 1-Year Aerobic Exercise Intervention among Postmenopausal Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial.”
[3]Hassan et al., “Lifestyle Interventions for Weight Loss in Adults with Severe Obesity: A Systematic Review.”
[4]Willbond et al., “Normal Weight Men and Women Overestimate Exercise Energy Expenditure.”
Friedenreich, CM, CG Woolcott, A McTiernan, T Terry, R Brant, R Ballard-Barbash, ML Irwin, et al. “Adiposity Changes after a 1-Year Aerobic Exercise Intervention among Postmenopausal Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” International Journal of Obesity (2005) 35, no. 3 (March 1, 2011): 427–35. [PubMed]
Hassan, Y, V Head, D Jacob, MO Bachmann, S Diu, and J Ford. “Lifestyle Interventions for Weight Loss in Adults with Severe Obesity: A Systematic Review.” Clinical Obesity, October 27, 2016. [PubMed]
Ross, R, JA Freeman, and I Janssen. “Exercise Alone Is an Effective Strategy for Reducing Obesity and Related Comorbidities.” Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews 28, no. 4 (October 1, 2000): 165–70. [PubMed]
Willbond, SM, MA Laviolette, K Duval, and E Doucet. “Normal Weight Men and Women Overestimate Exercise Energy Expenditure.” The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 50, no. 4 (December 1, 2010): 377–84. [PubMed]
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About the Author

ChuckH

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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