Exercise has many virtues but, contrary to popular belief, it is not an efficient way to lose weight.
So what is?
“The idea that our obesity epidemic is caused by sedentary lifestyles has spread widely over the past few decades, spurring a multibillion-dollar industry that pitches gadgets and gimmicks promising to walk, run and kickbox you to a slim figure. But those pitches are based on a myth. Physical activity has a multitude of health benefits — it reduces the risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and possibly even cancer — but weight loss is not one of them.
“A growing body of scientific evidence shows that exercise alone has almost no effect on weight loss, as two sports scientists and I described in a recent editorial in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. For one, researchers who reviewed surveys of millions of American adults found that physical activity increased between 2001 and 2009, particularly in counties in Kentucky, Georgia and Florida. But the rise in exercise was matched by an increase in obesity in almost every county studied. There were even more striking results in a 2011 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, which found that people who simply dieted experienced greater weight loss than those who combined diet and exercise.”
I encourage you to go read Dr. Aseem Malhotra’s entire article in The Washington Post.
If you prefer to listen to the information, check out my conversation with Timothy Caulfield, public health researcher at the University of Alberta, on the podcast Within Reason. It’s a lot of fun and you may find yourself confronted with an avalanche of myths you thought were true.