Forget the exercise, just eat less

No, that oversimplifies, but as someone who has been exercising regularly (and not eating particularly healthfully) for the past 18 years, I found this article in Time about exercise pretty depressing.  I have a lot more willpower to exercise than to eat right, but the evidence strongly suggests that eating right is the real key and that exercise makes surprisingly little difference.


"In general, for weight loss, exercise is pretty useless," says Eric
Ravussin, chair in diabetes and metabolism at Louisiana State
University and a prominent exercise researcher. Many recent studies
have found that exercise isn't as important in helping people lose
weight as you hear so regularly in gym advertisements or on shows like The Biggest Loser — or, for that matter, from magazines like this one.

The basic problem is that while it's true that exercise burns calories
and that you must burn calories to lose weight, exercise has another
effect: it can stimulate hunger. That causes us to eat more, which in
turn can negate the weight-loss benefits we just accrued. Exercise, in
other words, isn't necessarily helping us lose weight. It may even be
making it harder.

Of course there are important benefits to exercise, but weight loss is not apparently truly among them.  Sad conclusion for me: eat less pizza.  The whole article is definitely worth a read.


About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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