Thursday, September 16, 2010

Diet vs. Exercise

In response to Scott's comment,  I went and found this article, which describes a study that:

"...compared African American women in metropolitan Chicago with women in rural Nigeria. On average, the Chicago women weighed 184 pounds and the Nigerian women weighed 127 pounds.

"Researchers had expected to find that the slimmer Nigerian women would be more physically active. To their surprise, they found no significant difference between the two groups in the amount of calories burned during physical activity.

"'Decreased physical activity may not be the primary driver of the obesity epidemic,' said Loyola nutritionist Amy Luke, a member of the study team.

This jives with my experience.  Fixing my diet caused me to start losing weight that exercise had been unable to take off over the course of years.  I intentionally scaled back my running volume when I eliminated veggie oils from my diet, just to make sure that wasn't the cause.

I don't have time to look into some more research, but exercise alone won't do the trick.  Neither will cutting back on calories.  From what I've read, it's what you eat, now how much you eat or exercise.

"Diet is a more likely explanation than physical activity expenditure for why Chicago women weigh more than Nigerian women, Luke said. She noted the Nigerian diet is high in fiber and carbohydrates and low in fat and animal protein. By contrast, the Chicago diet is 40 percent to 45 percent fat and high in processed foods."