Study Shows Diet is More Effective Than Exercise in Losing Weight

You’ve been going to the gym for months, changing up your routine, and trying more intense workouts, but those last few pounds just aren’t coming off. What gives?

healthy-eating-and-exerciseAccording to a recent study, more exercise doesn’t always translate to more calories burned, as the body becomes used to operating at a certain level of activity.

An older study conducted by Herman Pontzer of Hunter College at the City University of New York looked at individuals in farming and hunter-gatherer communities, all of whom move around and travel long distances during the day. The results, however, showed that these individuals weren’t burning off any more calories compared to sedentary societies in the U.S. and Europe.

The newer study, examining a diverse population of 332 individuals ages 25 to 45 from Ghana, South Africa, Seychelles, Jamaica and United States, came up with similar results. Researchers determined each person’s total energy expenditure by using “labeled” water and then measuring how the saliva, urine, or blood filtered out those molecules.

The researchers then examined the amount of carbon dioxide exhaled by the subjects to measure metabolic rate and also required them to wear accelerometers, which recorded daily activity levels.

The results showed that less active people with a metabolic rate of 1,540 calories per day burned more calories when they increased the intensity level during physical activities. However, for those already operating above 2,600 calories per day, the amount of calories they burned reached a plateau.

From these results, the researchers determined that, while exercise may assist in losing weight, it’s not the be-all-end-all of a routine. Instead, monitoring the amount of calories consumed may be more helpful for reaching your fitness goals.

“I think this paper adds to what we’ve known for a while now; [that] diet is a more effective tool for weight loss than exercise,” Pontzer said in a statement. “You still need to exercise. I’m not saying it can’t help with weight loss. Exercise is super important for your health.”

Even when weight loss is not the main goal, exercise remains a key factor for getting and staying healthy. For many individuals, the easiest way to be active is to go to a gym. If you’re in Central Connecticut, give North Haven Health & Racquet’s facility a try today. Stop by, or call us at (203) 239-5665 for more information.