When it comes to slimming down, which one matters more—exercise or diet? Two experts weigh in. Hit the Gym. Without it, only a portion of your weight loss is from fat — you’re also stripping away muscle and bone density. Since working out stimulates growth of those metabolic tissues, losing weight through exercise means you’re burning mostly fat. The number on the scale may not sound as impressive, but because muscle takes up less space than fat does, you look smaller and your clothes fit better. Data show that to lose weight with exercise and keep it off, you don’t need to run marathons. You just need to build up to five to seven workouts a week, 50 minutes each, at a moderate intensity, like brisk walking or Zumba.
But your diet does outweigh your fitness routine. But the quality of the food actually matters more than the quantity. To lose weight, the average person should reduce their daily calorie intake by kcal. Subscribe now for a weekly dose of inspiration and education. Such a diet—and there are many variations—usually includes: several servings of fruits and vegetables a day whole-grain breads and cereals healthy fats from nuts, seeds, and olive oil lean protein from poultry, fish, and beans limited amounts of red meat moderate wine consumption with meals no more than two glasses a day for men; no more than one a day for women A Mediterranean-style diet is a flexible eating pattern. Understanding calories Very low calorie diets Calorie checker. There are three main components to energy expenditure, obesity researcher Alexxai Kravitz explained: 1 basal metabolic rate, or the energy used for basic functioning when the body is at rest; 2 the energy used to break down food; and 3 the energy used in physical activity. N Engl J Med. It’s true that low-carb diets tend to be the most popular because they offer the fastest results, but they can be difficult to sustain.
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To learn more about why, I read through more than 60 studies including high-quality, systematic reviews of all the best-available research on exercise and weight loss for a recent installment of Show Me the Evidence. One very underappreciated fact about exercise is that even when you work out, the extra calories you burn only account for a small part of your total energy expenditure. There are three main components to energy expenditure, obesity researcher Alexxai Kravitz explained: 1 basal metabolic rate, or the energy used for basic functioning when the body is at rest; 2 the energy used to break down food; and 3 the energy used in physical activity. Digesting food accounts for about 10 percent. That leaves only 10 to 30 percent for physical activity, of which exercise is only a subset. Remember, physical activity includes all movement, including walking around, fidgeting, et cetera. The implication here is that while your food intake accounts for percent of the energy that goes into your body, exercise only burns off less than 10 to 30 percent of it. Using the National Institutes of Health’s Body Weight Planner — which gives a more realistic estimation for weight loss than the old 3, calorie rule — mathematician and obesity researcher Kevin Hall created this model to show why adding a regular exercise program is unlikely to lead to significant weight loss. If a hypothetical pound man added 60 minutes of medium-intensity running four days per week while keeping his calorie intake the same, and he did this for 30 days, he’d lose five pounds. More on these “compensatory mechanisms” later.
Which really leads to weight loss? Exercise or diet? If you need to shed some kilos, read on! Going from overweight to maintaining a healthy weight can lower your risk for diabetes.