You cannot outrun a bad diet

It’s about time this myth is busted once and for all.  You cannot outrun a bad diet! Following this article is a recently published article that does the myth busting.  Let me break it down for you.

If you are trying to lose weight, that is a DIET issue.  The role of exercise in weight loss is essentially to help create an energy deficit — to help you burn more calories than you take in.  But you do have to limit what you take in.

Contrary to popular belief, there are no real “fat burning” exercises.  Humans have evolved to thrive on fairly small amounts of fuel.  Our ancestors sometimes had to endure all day hunts just to get food into their mouths. Imagine if you really did burn 600 calories an hour from such activities. We would have died out as a species a long time ago.

We’re Priuses, people, not Hummers.

So if you would like to lose weight, the first thing to do is limit your calorie intake.  The second would be to exercise.

One of the roles of exercise is to help create that energy deficit that is needed for weight loss. When you are trying to save up for a house you need stop spending your money on foolish things, AND  try to find a way to make a little extra income. Same thing with weight loss, only only in reverse.  You want to stop eating unnecessary calories and find a ways to burn off the excess.

Note that there is a difference between “weight loss” and “fat loss.”  When you create a calorie deficit through dieting alone, you can achieve weight loss.  That weight can come from anywhere, bone, muscle, organ mass, whatever.  We want to use exercise to help your body choose the right tissue to burn (fat).  Without exercise, you might burn through lean body tissues which will actually make your fat percentage increase while your weight decreases.

What kind of exercise is best for this?

Strength training (weight resistance exercises), whether through body weight, free weights, machines or whatever, places a demand on your body to create more lean tissue (muscle, bone mass, etc.).  Lean tissue, is a little more costly to own, so your at rest calorie burn is a little higher.  That’s like passive calorie burn.  But that’s not all. That’s not even the good stuff.

When you build muscle, you build ancillary lean tissues such as bone mass, organ density (organ tissues are muscles), etc..  Strength training while dieting prohibits burning lean tissue for fuel.  Because that would be like requiring an extra room added onto your house, building it, then tearing it down as soon as you got the higher electricity bill.

So the role of exercise in weight loss is less about increasing calorie deficit as it is in fuel choice — protecting your lean mass.

And one more thing.  There are SO MANY benefits to exercise.  Any kind of exercise.  Remember that endurance hunt our ancestors would have to sometimes go on?  Yeah, that’s the stuff we humans came from.  Active animals.  Our bodies do not like being couch potatoes.  So even if you don’t have to lose weight, you should be exercising.  Your body needs it got one function or process or another.

Still, exercise alone is the slow method to weight loss. If weight loss is your goal, make smart choices worthy of our evolutionary survival. The first of which should be to put down that doughnut and limit your calorie intake.

The entire myth busting article is below.  Enjoy.



Sugar and carbs, not physical inactivity, behind surge in obesity, say experts
Date:  April 22, 2015
Source:  BMJ
Excess sugar and carbs, not physical inactivity, are behind the surge in obesity, say experts. It is time to bust myth that anyone — including athletes — can outrun a bad diet, they say.

Excess sugar and carbs, not physical inactivity, are behind the surge in obesity, say experts in an editorial in the British Journal of Sports Medicine published online today.

It’s time to bust the myth that anyone–and that includes athletes–can outrun a bad diet, they say.

Regular exercise is key to staving off serious disease, such as diabetes, heart disease, and dementia, write the authors, but our calorie laden diets now generate more ill health than physical inactivity, alcohol, and smoking combined.

The evidence now suggests that up to 40% of those within a normal weight (BMI) range will none the less harbour harmful metabolic abnormalities typically associated with obesity.

But few people realise this, and many wrongly believe that obesity is entirely due to lack of exercise, a perception that is firmly rooted in corporate marketing, say the authors.

They describe the public relations tactics of the food industry as “chillingly similar to those of Big Tobacco,” which deployed denial, doubt, confusion and “bent scientists” to convince the public that smoking was not linked to lung cancer.

“Celebrity endorsements of sugary drinks and the association of junk food and sport must end,” they declare, adding that health clubs and gyms need to set an example by removing the sale of these products from their premises. “The ‘health halo’ legitimisation of nutritionally deficient products is misleading and unscientific,” they write.

Public health messaging has unhelpfully focused on maintaining a ‘healthy weight’ through calorie counting, but it’s the source of the calories that matters, they point out. “Sugar calories promote fat storage and hunger. Fat calories induce fullness or satiation,” they write.

The prevalence of diabetes increases 11-fold for every 150 additional sugar calories consumed daily, compared with the equivalent amount of calories consumed as fat, they say.

And the evidence now suggests that carbs are no better, they add. Recent research indicates that cutting down on dietary carbohydrate is the single most effective approach for reducing all of the features of the metabolic syndrome and should be the primary strategy for treating diabetes, with benefits occurring even in the absence of weight loss.

Furthermore, other research suggests that rather than carbohydrate loading ahead of intense exercise, athletes would be better off adopting a high fat low carb diet, particularly those who are already insulin resistant.

The food environment needs to be changed so that people automatically make healthy choices, suggest the authors. This “will have far greater impact on population health than counselling or education. Healthy choice must become the easy choice,” they say.

“It’s time to wind back the harms caused by the junk food industry’s public relations machinery. Let’s bust the myth of physical inactivity and obesity. You can’t outrun a bad diet,” they conclude.

BMJ. (2015, April 22). Sugar and carbs, not physical inactivity, behind surge in obesity, say experts. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 25, 2015 from


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