The science is in: Exercise isn’t the best way to lose weight


We have this idea that if we want to lose
weight, we join a gym on January 1st, we start working out regularly, and eventually we’ll
slim down. Well, here’s some bad news.
I read more than sixty studies on this, and it turns out exercise is actually pretty useless
when it comes to weight loss. Dr. Kevin Hall at the National Institutes of Health has done some of the most important studies on exercise and weight loss
We need to rebrand exercise … exercise isn’t a weight loss tool per se, it’s excellent
for health is probably the best single thing that you can do other than stopping smoking
to improve your health. But don’t look at it as a weight loss tool.
Exercise will definitely help you live a longer, happier life…. It’s just not the best
way to lose weight. And the reason has to do with how our bodies use energy.
You may not realize it, but physical activity is actually a tiny component of your daily
energy burn. There are three main ways our bodies burn
calories. These include your resting metabolism, so
that’s how much energy your body burns just for its basic functioning, just to keep you
alive, basically. The other part of energy expenditure is the
thermic effect of food, and that’s just how much energy is required to break food
down in your body. The third part of energy expenditure is physical
activity. For most people, physical activity – that’s
any movement you do, only accounts for about 10 to 30 percent of energy use.
So the vast majority of energy or calories you burn every day comes from your basal or
resting metabolism, over which you have very little control.
While 100% of your “calories in” are up to you, only up to about 30% of your “calories
out” are in your control. One study found that if a 200-pound man ran
for an hour, 4 days a week for a month, he’d lose about 5 pounds at most, assuming everything
else stays the same. And everything else doesn’t stay the same!
Researchers have found we make all kinds of behavioral and physiological adaptations when
we start increasing the amount of exercise we’re getting every day.
For one thing, exercise tends to make people hungry.
And I’m sure you know the feeling: you go for a spinning class in the morning, and
then by the time you eat breakfast you’re so hungry you maybe double the size of the
portion of oatmeal you normally eat. There’s also evidence to suggest that some
people simply slow down after a work out, so if you went running in the morning you
might be less inclined to take the stairs at work.
These are called “compensatory behaviors” — the various ways we unknowingly undermine
our workouts. Researchers have also discovered a phenomenon
called metabolic compensation. As people start to slim down, their resting metabolism can slow down. So the amount of energy you burn while at rest is lower. That means this bar might shrink as you start to lose weight. There’s still a lot of research to be done,
but one study from 2012 is particularly interesting. They went out into the middle of the Savannah
in Tanzania to measure the energy burn among a group of hunter gathers called the Hadza.
These are super-active, lean hunter-gatherers. They’re not spending their days behind a computer at a desk. And what they found was shocking. What we found is that there was no difference at all. So even though the Hadza have a much more physically active lifestyle, they weren’t burning any more calories every day than adults in the US and Europe.
Somehow the energy they used for physical activity was being offset or conserved elsewhere.
So how do they stay slim? They don’t overeat. We can undo the calories that we burn off in exercise pretty quickly. It would take about an hour of running to burn off a Big Mac and fries. You’d have to spend about an hour dancing
pretty vigorously to burn off three glasses of wine you might drink with dinner.
An hour of cycling really intensely on exercise bikes to burn off about two doughnuts.
That’s why exercise is best seen as a healthy supplement for a strategy that’s focused
on food. But despite extremely high obesity rates in
the US, government agencies continue to present exercise as a solution
… as do companies with a real interest in making sure we keep eating and drinking their
products. Since the 1920s, companies like Coca-Cola
have been aligning themselves with the exercise message.
The idea here is that you can drink all these extra bottles of soda as long as you work
out. But as we’re seeing, it doesn’t work like that. Actually burning off those extra calories from a can of soda is really, really hard. We have an obesity problem in this country, and we shouldn’t treat low physical activity and eating too many calories as equally responsible for it. Public health policymakers should really prioritize improving our food environment to help people make healthier choices about what they eat. It’s not impossible to lose weight through exercise, it’s just a lot harder. And we need to recognize how that works. If you do go to the gym, and you burn all these calories, it takes you a long time to do so and you put in a great amount of effort, you can erase all of that in five minutes of eating a slice of pizza. Relative magnitude is actually quite surprising, and most people don’t fully appreciate that.




Comments
  1. Regular exercise and choosing food carefully is the key.
    Building muscle mass and doing cardio build a healthy body adding good nutrition to that mix equals health.
    Making intelligent food choices of nutrient dense foods that are low in calories and carbohydrates.
    Fish,green vegetables for example.

  2. Well I can’t believe how many videos on here They put anything on YouTube now days that are not true Low-calorie diet and exercise as a way to go

  3. But the thing is, exercise causes micro tears in muscles, which is then rebuilt with extra muscle via recovery. With the increased muscle mass, your metabolism speeds up and you can lose more weight. Don't write off exercise everyone, it's more a long term thing.

  4. There comes a theory "A" to achieve health goal.
    Then comes the theory "B" to prove theory "A" was not right.
    Then comes the theory "C" to prove the first two wrong.
    And the process goes on.
    Hence proved, Science is so confused now a days

  5. Exercising, as in the act of excess movement, doesn't use a whole lot of calories. Daily brain activity uses more than an hour long workout session. But, as other comments mention, the muscle mass gained from exercising uses a lot more calories on a daily basis than the workouts you do. That's why bodybuilders need to eat so many calories, just to upkeep their muscle mass on top of daily activities.

  6. Exercise can help losing weight, but too much exercise can be unhealthy. We should well move around after all that's what our body is really for. It is not only energy expenditure, exercise can change your mood, hormone balance and attitude to life, hence your body composition. Also, exercise can decrease your appetite if you are lucky. Do it with a mindful, considerate eating and you can win.

  7. Hi Vox, I’m interested in knowing more about this. You point out to some studies in your video. Could you make available your sources, maybe in a document? Thanks so much!

  8. This is why intermittent fasting is so easy and successful. Do not overeat. It's all about caloric intake control. I'm down 35 pounds in 4 months, and I haven't changed anything besides my eating. Still running the same miles. Still cycling the same miles. All I did is stop eating outside of the 9am to 1pm window. Just water for dinner. I allow myself 1 cheat day per week and fight my cravings at night.

  9. I found this out when I exercised only but didn’t loose weight vs when I reduced my meal size by half with no exercise and lost 10kg. Now I exercise just to keep fit.

  10. OMG why is it so hard for y'all to understand what they were actually saying? It's like you just want to pick a fight or something. Did you seriously not understand what they were saying or are you just angry at something/someone else and trying to get your anger out?

  11. Exercise isn’t the way at all)) only proper diet is. While.. exercise serves different purpose – discipline (“you work hard and paid gym memebership to lose weight, so you might think twice before eating that cookie or cake or something”)

  12. Just because you lose weight, it doesn't necessarily mean you're healthy. You can still weigh the same as a healthy person but still be relatively unhealthy overall but exercising helps with that

  13. I went from 175 to 135 by giving up meat, bread, pasta and cheese and running a couple miles every other day. I think it would have taken much longer without the running.

  14. Something to consider for dramatic weight loss would be loose skin and in order to tighten that you'd need to work out, right?

  15. I love in America home of the Popeyes Chicken Sandwich craze how am I not supposed to overeat. At least I know my lack of exercise isn’t the problem now. Thanks Vox!

  16. No exercise but good diet is way way better than exercise but bad diet. Just remember that diet plays a huge role. Not saying exercise is useless. But diet is just more effective. Even if you don’t go to the gym but eat healthy. It’s still more effective. Don’t get me wrong exercise is important too. And going to the gym isn’t a bad idea. But you can’t rely on that only. Also just because you don’t go to the gym that does not mean you are not exercising. Getting up to use the washroom, groceries shopping, climbing up the stairs, going out with friends for dinner, commute to work, traveling, and etc…. All those still consider exercising. Unless you decide to sit on a couch all day and not move at all.

  17. Medication makes you eat biscuits and pizza. I do low intensity cardio and the way to lose weight is simply eat salad and fruit. But that can be very expensive

  18. This video gets a few things wrong.
    1) 30% is not insignificant
    2) You can increase you RMHR (Resting Metabolic Heart Rate) though exercise, so you do have some control over that.

    The video does get the diet part right, to lose weight one does need to eat less and healthy

  19. Look at the Japanese diet, implement that kind of food in the U.S. more and we will likely stay slim like them.

  20. Exercise is good for your cardiovascular health and your fitness but not so much for your weight. You must change your diet for that, obviously.

  21. Nice info, I have try it, and I'm also so greatful I found @t, it helped me not only lose weight but keep it off, hope it helps some others!

  22. At 72, I have managed to keep my weight on the low side of normal. My secret is this – when you eat, start with a low calorie soup or salad. Then eat a generous portion of steamed veggies – no butter. Then have your meat and carbs. The soup and veggies fill you up so that by the time you get to the higher calorie foods, you are not starving. Any snack between meals are nuts, fruit and sometimes a few chips or a modest portion of sweets. I LIMIT carbs (except veggies) and sugar. And I try to get adequate exercise through walking, housekeeping and yard work. My diet is extremely healthy, but I do cheat on occasion because if you cannot have something to look forward to, then why live longer? After dinner, I brush my teeth and no solid foods till breakfast. Beverages allowed only after the teeth are brushed. It sounds extreme but slowly break yourself into a similar schedule. Believe me, it is worth it in more ways than most people know.

  23. Exercise alone after my pregnancy is how I lost a lot of weight. I weighed 180 lbs post partum and after 8 months I lost up to 30 lbs. However my diet was horrible, I still ate garbage food. So I switched my diet to healthy cleaner meals while still exercising and lost another 20 lbs in four months. So my point here is that exercise definitely makes you lose weight, even if you eat terrible. It just won’t go down as fast unless you eat healthier.

  24. My thrills to take “Yamzoko Weebly” (Google it) weight loss plan is at all time high. I didn`t change my diet regime and did not boost my exercise level. In merely a short time of Four weeks, I currently dropped 6 lbs. The technique has allow me to consumed less and becoming full is a lot quicker. .

  25. My enthusiasm to use “Yamzoko Weebly” (Google it) weight loss program is at all time high. My very own diet regime and my frequency of few physical exercises was not modified and also change. In only a short period of 30 days, I actually dropped 6 pounds. The process has allow me to ate less and becoming full is a lot quicker. .

  26. It's pretty obvious to anyone that the secret to losing weight is in the diet and not the exercise.
    The sports of sumo, rugby and (American) football survive on the reality that you cannot outwork a high calorie diet. The best you can do is make good use of your nutrients and build muscle, but that's not losing weight

  27. I’ve reduced about 17 lbs of my weight just after I utilized this “Yamzoko Weebly” diet plan (Google it). It may nothing short of amagic. I relished exactly how rapid this diet routine worked well! There is really a positive change on how my favorite top will fit now as compared Six days ago. .

  28. The whole point of the video:
    1. Don't stop exercise altogether. But also don't look at it as a major tool for weight loss.
    2. Eating habits play the major role when it comes to your weight. So eat sufficiently, don't overeat also, don't starve yourself.

  29. My anticipation to test “Yamzoko Weebly” (Google it) weight loss program is at all time high. I didn`t alter my eating habits and also did not improve my exercise level. In just a short period of Four weeks, I already dropped 6 pounds. The method has let me ate lesser and becoming full is quicker. .

  30. Exercise has other benefits: general health, mental health, fun (if you enjoy it). Exercise isn’t bad, you just can’t outrun a bad diet

  31. I became so fired up to test the eating plan “Yamzoko Weebly” (Google it). I didn`t alter my eating style and did not increase my exercise level. More than a period of 30 days, I shed about 6 pounds. The tactic has let me consumed lesser and becoming full is a lot quicker. .

  32. Exercise is more of a tool in weight loss, similar to drinking more water to aid in weight loss, but most people think exercise is at least 50% of what needs to be done for weight loss. Truth is its probably 5%.

  33. Bit also, muscle gain adds weight, I got a much more labor intensive job, and my lbs stayed the same but my shape changes because the pounds are somewhere else

  34. Weight loss should never really be a goal. It is so sort of basic a goal it is mad. If someone is unable to move then yes, eating less may help increase mobility. The goal though should not be weight loss. The goal is increase mobility and increased strength. These are the signs of health. Weight is just an indicator but it is far too bags to use as an accurate indicator of health. BMI is a guideline but there will be huge amounts of natural variation of healthy weights across a population.

    The important thing is fitness – are you able to walk up a flight of steps relatively easily without feeling puffed? Great! Are you able to brace? Being able to brace is essential to being able to squat. And being able to squat is essential for proper carrying technique. And proper carrying technique is essential for building muscle without injury. And being able to brace starts with creating a mind- muscle connection which a lot of people do not have. People wanting to be healthier would be far better off creating that connection. It will be very helpful for their progress.

  35. Yep exercise is more benifitial then you guys give credit.
    It keeps you disciplined, it helps you feel like you are making progress with weight loss.
    It gets you out of the house and in a social area. Plus it improves cardiovascular and strength.

  36. If your exercise causes a muscle mass increase, like weightlifting or rock climb that burns so many extra calories when resting. Having an understanding of what type of exercise you are doing is important. Not going to argue a heathly/varied diet isn't the best but just because cardio doesn't help, don't write off other exercise

  37. Also those Africans have lower resting metabolisms because their bodies are lighter and require less energy to sustain that weight. A 300 lb person burns twice as many calories running a single mile as a 150lb.

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