Friday, November 6, 2009

Losing Weight by Eating Less

The New York Times writes about a study on weight loss. The results: a diet soda is better than a treadmill. Researchers worked with several groups of people and monitored calories burned and weight loss, and found that lots of exercise did not reduce weight by much. The far-more-important factor was the amount of calories consumed.
“The message of our work is really simple,” although not agreeable to hear, Melanson said. “It all comes down to energy balance,” or, as you might have guessed, calories in and calories out. People “are only burning 200 or 300 calories” in a typical 30-minute exercise session, Melanson points out. “You replace that with one bottle of Gatorade.”
There was also an interesting point made about what form the calories you burn come from, depending on the level of exertion.
While high-intensity exercise demands mostly carbohydrate calories (since carbohydrates can quickly reach the bloodstream and, from there, laboring muscles), low-intensity exercise prompts the body to burn at least some stored fat... “Heart rates of between 105 and 134” beats per minute, Carey said, represent the fat-burning zone.
The article does go out to tell about all the other benefits exercise brings, so even if one doesn't lose weight, it's still healthy:
Most [subjects] became notably healthier, increasing their aerobic capacity, decreasing their blood pressure and resting heart rates, and, the authors write, achieving “an acute exercise-induced increase inpositive mo od,” leading the authors to conclude that, “significant and meaningful health benefits can be achieved even in the presence of lower than expected exercise-induced weight loss.”

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