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Exercise is ineffective for weight loss

junkfoodTrying to shift a few pounds?

Exercise is important for many reasons, but losing weight is not one of them. As 80% of our body composition is determined by what we eat, it is our diet that is important.

Diet does not mean ‘dieting’....which has been shown again and again not to work in the long term. No sustainable weight loss can be achieved by a diet which leaves you feeling hungry and craving food!

Diet in this context refers specifically to the type and amount of carbohydrates, fats and proteins which make up the various foods we eat. Micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals are also important.

What we eat, and when we eat it is also more important than the highly over simplified calories in versus calories out model. This usually forms the basis of low fat, calorie restricted diets such as that promoted by Weight Watchers. Most of those who follow calorie restricted diets regain the weight they have lost after a year or less.

There is compelling evidence to suggest that to lose weight and keep it off, a shift towards eating less carbohydrate, more healthy fats, enough quality sources of protein whilst avoiding sugar is necessary.

In practical terms, if you are trying to shift those pounds, an effective strategy should start with cutting out sugar and significantly reducing the amount of bread, potatoes, beer, cakes, biscuits and other carbohydrate rich foods. Don’t be afraid to eat some good fat, it helps prevent you getting hungry, is rich in nutrients and contrary to conventional wisdom does not increase cholesterol and the risk of heart disease. Ideally eat grass fed, pasture raised, free range meats, free range eggs and non farmed fish to ensure enough quality protein.

In summary, managing your weight effectively makes exercise easier and more enjoyable, but exercise itself won’t help you manage your weight. For more on this interesting topic, take a listen to ‘you can’t outrun a bad diet’ by Dr. Aseem Malhotra over at BJSM podcasts.

For my clients, feel free to discuss this topic with me at your next physiotherapy appointment.

By Simon.

References:

Wadden TA. Treatment of obesity by moderate and severe caloric restriction: results of clinical research trials. Annals of internal medicine. 1993 Oct 1;119(7_Part_2):688-93.

Stern L, Iqbal N, Seshadri P, Chicano KL, Daily DA, McGrory J, Williams M, Gracely EJ, Samaha FF. The effects of low-carbohydrate versus conventional weight loss diets in severely obese adults: one-year follow-up of a randomized trial. Annals of internal medicine. 2004 May 18;140(10):778-85.

Shai I, Schwarzfuchs D, Henkin Y, Shahar DR, Witkow S, Greenberg I, Golan R, Fraser D, Bolotin A, Vardi H, Tangi-Rozental O. Weight loss with a low-carbohydrate, Mediterranean, or low-fat diet. New England Journal of Medicine. 2008 Jul 17;359(3):229-41.

Shanahan C. Deep nutrition: Why your genes need traditional food. Flatiron Books; 2017 Jan 3.

Perlmutter D. Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar-Your Brain's Silent Killers. Hachette UK; 2014 Jan 16.

Noakes T, Creed SA, Proudfoot J, Caradoc-Davies T. The Real Meal Revolution: Changing the World, One Meal at a Time. Quivertree Publications; 2014.

Taubes G. The case against sugar. Anchor Books; 2017 Dec 5.

Sisson M. The primal blueprint: reprogramme your genes for effortless weight loss, vibrant health and boundless energy. Random House; 2012 Aug 31.

Phinney AND, Volek JS. The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living: An Expert Guide to Making the Life-Saving Benefits of Carbohydrate Restriction Sustainable and Enjoyable. Beyond Obesity LLC. 2011.

Volek JS, Phinney SD. The art and science of low carbohydrate performance. Miami, FL, USA: Beyond Obesity LLC; 2012.

Teicholz N. The big fat surprise: why butter, meat and cheese belong in a healthy diet. Simon and Schuster; 2014 May 13.

Chatterjee R. The 4 Pillar Plan: How to Relax, Eat, Move and Sleep Your Way to a Longer, Healthier Life Paperback – 28 Dec 2017

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