Can you really lose weight just by exercise alone?

I have recently just read a fascinating compilation of studies that suggest that exercise alone will not result in weight loss.  This is quite contrary to our popular belief, and that espoused by innumerable fitness trainers, that suggests if we eat a meal of double cheese-burgers with chips totalling 500 calories then all we have to do is jump on the stepper, set our goal to burn 500 calories and all will be struck from the record.  But it seems as though it isn’t quite that simple.

While 100% of the energy we gain comes from food,  we can only burn about 10-30% of it in physical activity (excluding professional athletes).  There are three main components to energy expenditure, 1) Basal metabolic rate, which is energy to make your body perform basic functions, 2) energy used to break down food, 3) energy used in physical activity.  Your body uses about 60-80% of energy to perform your basic functions and keep you alive, digesting and breaking down food used 10% and the rest is used for physical activity. 

This is all not suggesting that physical activity is not an incredibly important part of a healthy, long and happy life, because it most certainly is.  But conceiving that weight loss is as simple as calories out must be more than calories in, is not quite right.  Blaming obesity on poor physical activity isn’t strictly true as it seems that it is more so the over consumption of low quality food that is more to blame.

You can read the full article here: http://www.vox.com/2016/4/28/11518804/weight-loss-exercise-myth-burn-calories


Catherine Craig
Catherine Craig

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