Eating less, exercising more equally good

 Eating less and exercising more are equally good at helping take off the pounds, US researchers said on Friday in a study that challenges many of the popular tenets of the multibillion dollar diet and fitness industry… & see

Tests on overweight people show that a calorie is just a calorie, whether lost by dieting or by running, they said.

They found there is no way to selectively lose belly fat, for instance, or trim thighs. And their carefully controlled study added to evidence that adding muscle mass does not somehow boost metabolism and help dieters take off even more weight.

“It’s all about the calories,”said Dr. Eric Ravussin of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, part of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.

“So long as the energy deficit is the same, body weight, fat weight, and abdominal fat will all decrease in the same way.”

Ravussin said the study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism is one of the few done under controlled conditions that can actually show what happens to a human body while dieting and exercising.

Ravussin’s team has been testing volunteers for another reason — to see if taking in fewer calories helps people live longer.

Strict diets have been shown to help animals from worms to dogs live longer, but it takes longer to study monkeys and humans.

They tested 24 people, 12 who ate a calorie-restricted diet, and 12 who dieted and also exercised five times a week for six months.

The dieters ate 25% less than normal, while the exercisers reduced their calorie intake by 12.5% and increased their physical activity to lose an extra 12.5 in calories.

Another 10 volunteers acted as controls. All food was provided in carefully measured portions for most of the study.

The volunteers in both groups lost 10% of body weight, 24% of fat mass, and 27% of abdominal visceral fat. Visceral fat is packed in between the internal organs and is considered the most dangerous type of fat, linked with heart disease and diabetes.

The distribution of the fat on the body was not altered by either approach — helping prove that there is no such thing as “spot reducing”, Ravussin said in a telephone interview. This suggests that “individuals are genetically programmed for fat storage in a particular pattern and that this programming cannot easily be overcome”, he added.

Ravussin has published other studies that also dispute the idea that exercise builds muscle that helps people lose weight.

“If anything, highly trained people are highly efficient, so they burn fewer calories at rest,”Ravussin said. Dieting alone also did not appear to cause the volunteers to lose muscle mass along with fat, Ravussin’s team found.

“There is a concept that if you exercise, you are going to lose less of your muscle,”he said. But his team found no evidence this is true.

Source:The Times Of India

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