Joining a gym to lose weight may be the new year resolution for most of us. It may be a little heartbreaking but a recent study has suggested that diet is far more important than physical activity in order to lose weight.
The rationale behind this is that exercise increases appetite. One much-underappreciated fact about exercise is that even when one works out, the extra calories burnt only account for a small part of total energy expenditure.
According to obesity researcher Alexxai Kravitz, there are three main components to energy expenditure 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.
“It’s generally accepted that for most people, the basal metabolic rate accounts for 60 to 80 percent of total energy expenditure,” said Kravitz. Digesting food accounts for about 10 percent.
That leaves only 10 to 30 percent for physical activity, of which exercise is only a subset(physical activity includes all movement, including walking around, fidgeting and formal exercise).
“It could not be truer. What you omit from your diet is so much more important than how much you exercise,” nutritionist Lisa Drayer was quoted as saying to CNN.
All of your “calories in” come from the food you eat and the beverages you drink, but only a portion of your “calories out” is lost through exercise, according to Drayer.
It is often seen that some people simply slow down the diet after a workout, using less energy on their non-gym activities. They might decide to seize their physical activities and lie down for a rest, use more elevator instead of the stairs or fidget less because they are tired.
It is not that exercise is not good for health but one should not rely fully on exercise to lose weight but diet holds the most important role.
All this is not to say that exercise does not have its place. It is certainly important for building strength and muscle mass and flexibility and can help manage diseases, including heart disease and diabetes. But although exercise can help with weight loss, diet is a much more important lifestyle factor, Drayer noted.