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Diet vs Exercise: Which is More Important for Weight Loss?

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A combination of regular exercise and healthy diet is the key for weight loss. But if you weigh in the two against each other, one yields better results than the other.

Experts weigh in on the two and here’s what they have to say:

diet or exercise - which is effective for weight loss?
diet or exercise – which is effective for weight loss? / pixabay

Exercise

According to Michele Olson, PhD, a professor of exercise science and physical education, at Auburn University at Montgomery, Alabama.

“Yes, one can lose weight with diet alone, but exercise is an essential component. Without exercise, only a portion of your weight loss is from fat, you are also stripping away bone density and muscle. Because exercising stimulates growth of metabolic tissues, losing weight by working out means that you are burning mostly fat. The number on the scale may not look as impressive, but because muscle takes up less space than fat does, you can look smaller and your clothes fit better.”

Also, data showed that to lose weight with exercise and to keep it, you do not need to run marathons. You just need to build up to 5-7 workouts per week, 50 minutes each, and at a moderate intensity, such as Zumba or brisk walking.

Resistance training can help, as well. But do not just do isolated weight-lifting exercises such as biceps curls, you will get leaner faster by using your body weight against gravity, as with movements such as lunges, squats, planks and push-ups.

Also, beyond burning fat, individuals should not forget that exercise can have other impressive health benefits, such as lowering your cholesterol, improving the quality of your sleep and reducing your stress level.

Diet

According to Shawn M. Talbott, PhD, former director of the University of Utah Nutrition Clinic and nutritional biochemist.

“Weight loss is generally 75% diet and 25% exercise. An analysis of more than 700 weight loss studies reported that people see the biggest short-term results when they eat smart. On average, individuals who dieted without exercising for 15 weeks lost about 23 pounds; the people who exercises lost only 6 for about 21 weeks.

It is easier to cut calories than to burn them off. A good example, is if you eat a fast-food steak quesadilla, which packs about 500-plus calories, you need to run more than 4 miles to ‘burn’ it!

What should you eat? While it is a fact that low-carb diets tend to be the most popular, because they offer the fastest results, but these can be difficult to sustain.

It is recommended to strive for a more balanced diet that focuses on vegetables, fruits nd whole grain carbs and lean proteins. Remember not to cut calories too low, as this can cause your metabolism to slow, and you can start losing muscle mass.

For a healthy daily calorie count, allow 10 calories per pound of body weight, therefore a 150-pound woman should aim for a 1,500-calorie target. This way, you should be able to lose weight no matter how much you exercise.

Study

While exercise is important in leading a healthy life, exclusively, it does not often promote weight loss. A study in 2015, reported that calorie control is more successful, because exercise increases appetite in some people.

Also, additional research reported that exercise burns more calories initially, but the burn eventually plateaus, as one’s body adjusts for stability.

But, we have to point out that putting the 2 together is your very best option for getting the most. Plus, do not forget that physical activity can lower your risk for cancer, heart disease, diabetes, promotes better sleep and can help boost your mood.

Lucky for you, you do not have to choose between the two. And as Shawn M. Talbott says, while exercise and diet are both essential for long-term weight loss, always remember this: “You cannot out-exercise a bad diet.”

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