When we get into the subject of weight loss, which one is more important? Diet vs Exercise: Which one is more important for weight loss? Body fat is one of the main obsessions of those who take care of themselves and want to be on shape. But, how do we know which is the most important thing for achieving that? Actually, you are able to lose weight with diet only, but the truth is that exercise is an important factor for maintaining that weight reduction in long term basis.
Exercise helps to strengthen the bones and muscles, which become weaker through the years; so, while maintaining your muscular mass, you get to lose more body fat. It may not look that attractive when you’re on a balance, because actually muscles weigh more than fat, but the more muscle you have, the less percentage of body fat.
You don’t need to go to the gym every single day in order to lose body fat. 30 minutes of aerobic exercise such as walking, riding on bike, swimming, skating or dancing, during at least 5 times a week, and including anaerobic exercises, at least twice a week will be enough. Among the anaerobic exercise that you may include are weight lifting, yoga or Pilates. Experts recommend using our own body’s weight in order to strengthen our muscles.
It’s true that it’s easier to reduce calories rather than burn calories, so food plays a very important role in weight loss. It is estimated that 75% of the weight loss results are achieved through diet, while the remaining 25% is obtained with exercise. For example, if you had a burger with 500 calories, in order to burn those calories you should run more than 4 miles. All diets that are low on fat may be a good option for reducing calories. However, it is recommended to stick to a diet that includes vegetables, fruit, lean protein and carbohydrates. Don’t go for diets low on calories, since they reduce your metabolism and make your body weak, and not allowing it to lose fat (you lose more muscle and water on your body).
In a study published by the Journal Psychological Science, a group of experts asked around 1200 people in the United States, China, France and South Korea about which is the factor that makes people increase their weight. The results have shown that those people who considered exercise to be the key had a higher BMI (Body Mass Index) than those who considered that diet was the key for weight loss. Besides, those who made exercise tended to eat more calories than they should.
Diet Vs Exercise: What Research Says?
Another study carried out by the BBC analyzed 35 volunteers with a body fat level that put them in the danger zone for diabetes type 2 and other coronary diseases. They were divided into four different groups and two different methods were designed for treatment. Two groups had to do some specific exercises, while the other two had to carry out a specific diet. From the groups that had to do exercise, one of them had to do things that increased their physical activity, while the other one had to perform some specific series of abdominals workouts. Within the group that had to do diet, two subdivisions were made: the first subgroup was subjected to an advice that is usually given for losing fat: drink up to three glasses of milk (one liter) every day. And the last subgroup had to follow a controlled diet which consisted mostly in reducing the size of the food portions they ate, and not to eat between one meal and the next one.
After six weeks, the results were analyzed: the loss of body fat was measured for each group, along with levels of cholesterol, glucose, and blood pressure.
The first group, the one that increased their physical activity but didn’t change their diet did not lose any body fat at all, but their overall health was increased.
The second group, the one that had to do a series of abs, didn’t lose any body fat or weight either, but reduced their waistline was reduced by almost 2 centimeters.
The third group, which had to drink three glasses of milk every day, didn’t go through any kind of change, neither aesthetic nor in their health.
And the last group, the one that carried out a specific and strict diet, lost a lot of weight (an average of 3.7 kilograms!), and a waistline reduction of almost 5 centimeters!
Besides, the amount of fat that they lost on their bellies could be measured through X-rays and the results were also impressive: 5% of body fat reduction. The only negative aspect within all the changes that the members of this group went through was a decrease on the mass muscle of their legs.
The truth is that exercise does help to lose weight, but what’s happening is that people tend to underestimate the calories burnt and compensate their exercise activities with eating more. The key is in moderation: do exercise, eat healthy and avoid food that is high on fat, such as fast food and desserts. Eat small portions and only occasionally give yourself the pleasure of eating a larger portion of something you like. Exercise helps for reducing stress, and this is also good for losing weight. Furthermore, many studies prove that once you start an exercise routine, you start eating healthier. So, now you know that even if it can be concluded that diet does more to weight loss than exercise, both of them are important and work much better when they are carried out together at the same time: so go to a Nutritionist that can assess you about which things you should eat and in what proportion, while also putting yourself in the hands of a Personal Trainer for getting a personalized exercise routine, specially adapted to your needs. You will quickly see the amazing results!