Diet and exercise – which is best for weight loss?

Over the last 20 – 30 years there has been an increased societal acknowledgement of the need to live a healthy lifestyle and maintain a healthy body weight. Dietary and behavioural trends we have traditionally thought as normal are now being reconsidered as issues of obesity ravage western populations which have a highly processed diet.

For a long time people have thought that you need to live an active lifestyle and engage in regular exercise to lose weight. This is not necessarily true as it is very possible to get to a healthy weight via diet alone.

The global sugar industry has had a vested interest in their products being considered part of a normal healthy lifestyle. Products with high-fructose corn syrup are given to young children as treats and rewards, addicting them to sugar at an early age.

In order to shift blame away from their products, the sugar industry has pushed an idea that obese people need to live a more active lifestyle rather than blame their diet. They use advertising messages of young attractive people doing outside activities while enjoying soft drinks and sugary foods.

This agenda by vested interests has somewhat lead people to be misinformed about what the most effective way to lose weight is. Many people wrongly believe that large amounts of cardio exercise will offset poor diet choices.

The truth is that cardio in isolation won’t be as effective as limiting dietary sugars. However, using both exercise and dieting together is an effective combo.

As a general rule of thumb, dieting accounts for about 75% of the weight loss pie, with the rest being relegated to exercise. It is definitely possible to get to a healthy weight purely by dieting without doing any exercise at all.

However, there is a good reason why people combine diet and exercise. For many people they don’t just want to lose wright but to develop a fitter body that is more aesthetically pleasing.

For guys this might be developing muscle mass or for girls it might be getting a trimmer waistline. These goals require exercise that stimulates the relevant muscle groups and can’t be achieved via diet alone.

People who combine diet with exercise often find they are quickly replacing fat with muscle mass that is much healthier and lasts a lot longer. By combining diet and exercise people can achieve practical health benefits whilst also working towards their body image goals.

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