Leyla Weighs In: Exercise alone does not promote weight loss

| By Leyla Muedin MS, RD, CDN

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Exercise alone does not promote weight loss

Show of hands: How many think you can eat as many French fries as you like or indulge in a nightly bowl of ice cream with fudge sauce just because you run 4 miles a day? 

So sorry to break it to you.

“You cannot outrun a bad diet” is the quote coming from the British Journal of Sports Medicine. “Let us bust the myth of physical inactivity and obesity.”

While it is widely accepted in scientific and medical circles that 30 minutes of exercise five days a week can reduce the risk of chronic disease development such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, dementia and some cancers, exercise alone does not promote weight loss. In fact, according to the Lancet global burden of disease reports, a poor diet generates more disease than sedentary lifestyle, alcohol and smoking combined!

What they found is that the real culprit of our obesity epidemic lies in the type and amount of calories consumed

Moreover, up to 40 percent of those with a “healthy” body mass index (BMI) are found with metabolic abnormalities associated with obesity including hypertension, fatty liver disease and cardiovascular disease.

So you can be ‘normal’ weight and unhealthy because of poor diet alone. Unfortunately, the powers that be continue to push the misguided message about achieving a healthy weight through counting calories and daily exercise.

No doubt the food industry has its hands in this unhelpful and ancient message about calories in, calories out nutrition. Coca Cola spent $3.3 billion on its advertising campaign in 2013 claiming that “all calories count.” They claim it’s okay to consume their beverages as long as you exercise.

“However science tells us this is misleading and wrong. It is where the calories come from that is crucial. Sugar calories promote fat storage and hunger. Fat calories induce fullness or ‘satiation.’”

As a matter of fact, for every excess 150 calories of sugar consumed (a can of your favorite soda), “there was an 11-fold increase in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes, in comparison to an identical 150 calories obtained from fat or protein. And this was independent of the person’s weight and physical activity level.” The authors assert that this study fulfils the Bradford Hill Criteria for causation…meaning it proves a true cause and effect.

To your health!

Leyla Muedin, MS, RD, CDN 

Malhortra A, et al. Br J Sports Med 2015 


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