Which contributes more to weight loss: Diet or Exercise?

A common question around health is whether which of the two (nutrition or exercise) will have a greater impact on weight loss efforts. Science has found that “yes” one is better than the other for offering significant changes to your body composition and function.

Trial Study Participants:

The controlled/randomized one-year study measured the progress of 107 adults over the age of 65 that were clinically obese based on their BMI1)Villareal, Dennis T., et al. “Weight loss, exercise, or both and physical function in obese older adults.” New England Journal of Medicine 364.13 (2011): 1218-1229. – http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1008234#t=abstract .  Four test groups were created: 1) the control group (no change in lifestyle), 2) nutrition-change-only group, 3) exercise-change-only group, 4) both-nutrition-and-exercise-change group.  Each patient was assigned randomly to one for the trial.

Cumulatively, marked improvements in all wellness measurements were seen in the nutrition-change-only group and in the both-diet-and-exercise group.

Results:

Percentage of Weight Loss after 1-year

Diet Only: For the nutrition-only group, there was a 10% loss in body weight.

Exercise Only: The group that only made changes to increase their physical activity also had no change in body weight.

Diet-and-Exercise: For the diet-and-exercise group, there was a 9% loss in body weight.

Control: The control group made no changes in either factor, thus no change in bodyweight. This was the obviously expected result. 

Conclusions:

For the group that made changes in nutrition-and-exercise, the conjecture for the 1% difference in weight loss is the potential growth in muscle tissue from physical activity would add pounds to the scale.

Across the board, diet-induced weight loss showed to be the strongest factor in affecting body composition over exercise.  Better nutrition improves insulin sensitivity and many other heart-related risk-factors found in overweight adults. When combined with effective physical activity, good nutrition and exercise result in even better levels insulin sensitivity in obese patients.

The results for the exercise-only group support the popular saying that “you can’t out-exercise a bad diet.” Although, the exercise-only group did not have significant improvements in body weight, it is important to note that the diet-exercise group still presented with the best overall benefits.

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References   [ + ]

1. Villareal, Dennis T., et al. “Weight loss, exercise, or both and physical function in obese older adults.” New England Journal of Medicine 364.13 (2011): 1218-1229. – http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1008234#t=abstract
By | 2016-12-21T06:22:35+00:00 September 12th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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