for fat loss: Diet or exercise?
suggests there is no difference in fat loss between those
who diet and those who combine diet and exercise.
diets focus on what foods to cut, fad exercise programs promise
special fat burning effects from mere minutes of exercise.
Health authorities recommend a combination of healthy eating
and daily exercise for the best fat loss results. Who's right?
published in The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism
(2007, Jan 2) hypothesized that exercise and reducing calories
combined may have a greater effect on fat loss compared to
reducing calories alone. It turned out there was no difference.
at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge,
LA (Redman LM, Heilbronn LK, Martin CK, Alfonso A, Smith SR,
Ravussin E) followed study subjects over a six month period.
One group reduced calories by 25%, while another reduced calories
by 12.5% and burned off an equivalent 12.5% calories through
exercise resulting in both groups having a total daily caloric
deficit of 25% less than their daily caloric needs (about
a 400 to 600 calorie deficit daily). Subjects in both groups
lost the same amount of fat; Men lost 27% of their fat mass
and woman lost 22% of their fat mass.
study has both strengths and weaknesses. The strengths are
that monitoring and measuring energy intake and expenditure,
as well as total fat loss was more meticulous than many other
studies that have investigated the same theory. Subjects underwent
Xray, and oxygen consumption measurements to accurately asses
body fat and energy use. Study subjects also had food prepared
by the research centers "metabolic kitchen" to control
one of the greatest strengths of the study was that the subjects
had behavior modification counseling to help them identify
poor health choices and how to feel motivated by making healthy
choices. Researchers felt this strategy would be helpful in
keeping study subjects motivated to maintain the study protocol
over the six months they were enrolled.
weakness in the study is the number of study subjects was
low with only 12 subjects in each intervention group, resulting
in not enough people studied to reflect the results expected
for most of the population.
study methods are very robust despite the low subject enrollment
so the results are at minimum reliable enough to use for designing
a larger similar study, and at maximum can let us say that
for the most part either diet or exercise, or both, will result
in fat loss so long as a daily energy deficit is realized.
researchers suggest that diet and exercise combined is the
best approach because of the cardiovascular benefits of exercise.
In fact, the group that exercised had a significant increase
in cardiovascular fitness, whereas the diet only group did
wait, there's more..
Is a calorie a calorie?
Let's go wide scope for a moment. The media and the greater
diet and exercise industry often oversimplify the results
of such studies. There is too much focus on fat loss only.
loss is not the only reason to watch what we eat and exercise.
In fact such a focus is myopic and feeds the compulsive unbalanced
frenzy to lose fat as fast as possible.
shouldn't pit diet and exercise against each other embracing
the winner and ditching the loser (and this was not the intent
of the study). We want our food to supply our needed nutrients
and energy while tasting good, and we don't want to eat too
much or too little.
is for stimulation of muscles, bones, heart lungs, etc., and
for having fun with physical activity, and we don't want to
do too much or too little.
balance in mind, what is the value of a calorie?
terms of fat loss, it doesn't matter whether your caloric
deficit comes from diet, exercise, or both; as long as you
have a caloric deficit you will lose fat.
terms of gaining fat it doesn't matter if you take in too
many calories from carrots or butter; the extra calories will
be stored as fat.
the balance part.
calories of strawberry jam is not a significant source of
vitamins and minerals.
calories of broccoli or sweet red/ green peppers will supply
more than double your vitamin C for the day plus provide other
nutrients and fiber.
this case, while the calories are the same, the nutrition
delivered with those calories are not. This is usually overlooked
when we focus on calories only.
all fat is created equally.
most of your fat intake is from saturated fats such as butter
and red meat, your risk of cardiovascular disease increases.
If most of your fat intake is from nuts, grains, fish (salmon,
tuna), and oils like olive oil, your risk of cardiovascular
diet delivering all of it's calories from fat is not healthy.
A diet with a balance of fat's, carbohydrates, and proteins
is healthy. Same calories, different outcome.
where energy is concerned one calorie will always be one calorie,
but where delivering nutrients is concerned our choice of
calorie sources is very important.
you find your self asking "what is better for me to lose
fat; diet or exercise?", the answer is both or either
alone; but you may need to reevaluate the reasoning behind
your question. Are you into fat loss at all costs? Fat loss
is important but that doesn't mean it supersedes the benefits
of getting enough vitamins and minerals, or being fit. While
losing fat be sure to meet your daily nutrient needs. For
most who are on a caloric deficit to lose fat, daily nutrient
(vitamins + minerals) needs can be met with between 1500 (women)
and 2000 (men) calories; but this is pushing the limit.
here to see if you're meeting your daily requirements
2007 Cris LaBossiere Rhino Fitness www.rhinofitness.ca