Exercise Can Help Lose Weight But Only To A Point As Body Plateaus; Diet More Important

By Diane Ting, Parent Herald February 08, 11:01 pm

Increased physical activity to be able to burn calories will only work up to a certain point as the body naturally adjusts to keep energy stable and calorie burning plateaus. Diet is the most effective way to lose weight.

A study done by researchers from City University in New York focused on 332 adults, aged 25 to 45 years old to measure their daily energy expenditures. Participants of the study came from South Africa, Ghana, Jamaica, the Seychelles and the United States.

Researchers of the study measured total energy expenditure by using specially labeled water and gauging how the water molecules are exhausted over time in saliva, blood and urine samples. They also tested exhaled carbon dioxide to measure resting metabolic rates.

Published in Current Biology, results show that for less active people, energy expenditure increased as physical activity increased. However, calorie burn plateaued upon higher levels of activity, according to Daily Mail.

With a constant resting metabolic rate of 1,540 calories per day and an activity increase calorie burn of up to 2,600 calories a day, additional activity did not appear to burn any more calories. Findings concluded that for people trying to lose weight, increased physical activity would not translate to calories being exhausted.

Professor Herman Pontzer, the lead author of the study, explains that for people trying to lose weight, it makes more sense to focus on calorie intake. "Diet is a more effective tool for weight loss than exercise," said Pontzer. However, he clarifies that exercise is still needed for weight loss, as it is also important to one's health.

Professor Diana Thomas, director of the Center for Quantitative Obesity Research and professor at Montclair State University in New Jersey explains that when people exercise very hard, they sometimes lose very little weight, even no weight at all. She explained that people who are trying to lose weight should start by seeing a dietician.

Weight loss plateaus are very common and should be expected when someone is losing weight, according to Built Lean. Human bodies are resistant to change, which is why every person goes to 2-3 plateaus which last for several weeks during their weight loss journeys.

Experts suggest by re-evaluating and controlling calorie intake to break a weight loss plateau. Eating fewer calories than what one is actually burning and keeping a food journal are the most important steps to improving one's nutrition.

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