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Why you shouldn't exercise to lose weight, explained with 60+ studies

Human energy balance

Exercise alone has a modest contribution to weight loss. But when you alter one component, cutting the number of calories you eat in a day to lose weight, doing more exercise than usual, this sets off a cascade of changes in the body that affect how many calories you use up and, in turn, your bodyweight.

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Why you shouldn't exercise to lose weight, explained with 60+ studies

Why you shouldn't exercise to lose weight, explained with 60+ studies

https://www.vox.com/2016/4/28/11518804/weight-loss-exercise-myth-burn-calories

vox.com

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Key Ideas

Calories burned every day

The calories we burn every day include not only movement but all the energy needed to run the thousands of functions that keep us alive. 

Exercise and health

Exercise is like a wonder drug for many health outcomes: reducing blood pressure, reduces the risk of diabetes of heart diseases and slows developing cognitive impairment from Alzheimer's and dementia. 

But as for losing weight, it helps more in weight maintenance than in losing the actual weight.

Human energy balance

Exercise alone has a modest contribution to weight loss. But when you alter one component, cutting the number of calories you eat in a day to lose weight, doing more exercise than usual, this sets off a cascade of changes in the body that affect how many calories you use up and, in turn, your bodyweight.

Exercise and calories burn

Exercise accounts for a small portion of daily calorie burn.

Even when you work out, those extra calories burned only account for a tiny part of your total energy expenditure, only around 10 to 30 percent, depending on the person. It's not nearly equal to food intake.

Exercise can undermine weight loss

  • How much we move is connected to how much we eat. And exercise, of course, has a way of making us hungry — so hungry that we might consume more calories than we burned off.
  • Some people simply slow down after a workout, using less energy on their non-gym activities, because they're tired.

How to actually lose weight

People who have had success losing weight have a few things in common: 

  • They weigh themselves at least once a week. 
  • They restrict their calorie intake, stay away from high-fat foods, and watch their portion sizes. 
  • They also exercise regularly. But note: They use physical activity in addition to calorie counting and other behavioral changes.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Metabolism

It refers to the thousands of chemical reactions that turn what we eat and drink into fuel in every cell of the body. These reactions change in response to our environments and behaviors, an...

How The Body Uses Calories
  • Basal metabolism is the energy our body needs to keep our cells working and accounts for 65-80% of most adults' caloric consumption.
  • The thermic effect of food is the energy our body uses to process food and accounts for 10% of most adults' caloric consumption.
  • Physical activity accounts for 10 - 30 % of most people’s caloric consumption .
Controlling Your Own Weight

Not everyone overeats and becomes overweight, and not everyone who becomes overweight or obese develops illnesses like diabetes or heart disease. 

There was never a special diet, exercise regimen, or supplement that worked universally to control weight. Through trial and error, we have to discover habits and routines we can stick with that help us eat less and move more. 

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Your metabolism

It is in every cell in your body. It refers to a series of chemical processes in each cell that turn the calories you eat into fuel to keep you alive.

The body's major organs — th...

How we burn energy

There are 3 main ways:

  • the basal metabolism, the energy used for your body's basic functioning while at rest
  • the energy used to break down food (also known as the thermic effect of food)
  • the energy used in physical activity.

Most of the energy you burn is from your resting metabolism.

Metabolism variations

Metabolism can vary a lot between people, and researchers don't understand why.

2 people with the same size and body composition can have different metabolic rates. One can consume a huge meal and gain no weight, while the other has to carefully count calories to not gain weight.

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Thermogenesis

A cold body uses more energy to keep itself warm than a warm body.

When we are cold, we shiver — the muscles involuntary contract to generate warmth. The body may also activate "brown fat", a...

Exercise and heat

The processes of thermogenesis only kick in to keep you warm when you are truly cold. Exercising alone may generate enough heat that your body wouldn't burn any extra calories through shivering and brown fat.

The best way to use the cold to burn more calories would be not to exercise while you're outdoors or to exercise in light enough clothes in subzero temperatures.

Physical activity and energy burn

Physical activity only makes up a small portion of your total energy burn. Percentages of calories you burn off in a day:

  • 60%- 80% account for energy used for basic functioning when the body is at rest.
  • 10% of energy is used to break down food.
  • 10% - 30% of energy is used during physical activity, of which exercise is only a subset.
  • Thermogenesis accounts for less than 10% of your total energy expenditure.
Skipping Breakfast

Researchers say breakfast doesn't kickstart the metabolism and may not be the most important meal of the day. Different studies have found that skipping breakfast doesn’t lead to weight increase an...

"Hot" Workouts

They won't really help you lose weight. Research suggests regularly sleeping in colder temperatures may be optimal for weight loss as they stimulate the production of brown fat, the "good" fat. Brown fat keeps us warm by burning through "bad" fat stores.

Turn down the heat at night. You'll trim your belly and your heating bills.

Tongue-Scorching Peppers

Hot sauce can boost your metabolism. But research suggests that more-palatable, mild peppers may have the same calorie-burning potential.

Pack your salads and stir-fry with sweet peppers-including bell peppers, pimentos, rellenos, and sweet banana peppers. They're just as effective as the hot stuff.

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Eat Plenty of Protein at Every Meal

Eating food increases your metabolism for a while because extra calories are required to process your meal. This is called the thermic effect of food (TEF).

Protein increases your metaboli...

Drink More Cold Water

Drinking water may speed up your metabolism for about an hour. This calorie-burning effect may be even greater if you drink cold water, as your body uses energy to heat it.

Drinking water can also help you fill up and help you eat less, especially if you drink it half an hour before you eat.

Do a High-Intensity Workout

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) involves short, intense bursts of activity and help you burn more fat by increasing your metabolic rate.

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HIIT: high-intensity interval training
HIIT: high-intensity interval training

HIIT workouts generally combine short bursts of intense heart-pounding exercise (during which a person’s heart rate reaches at least 80 percent of its maximum capacity, usually for 1 to 5 minute...

The most well-established benefit of HIIT...

...has to do with heart health: Intervals can boost cardio-respiratory health with a smaller time investment compared to continuous forms of exercise

It's not about superior fat-burning capacity or bigger muscles, but about improved VO2 max, a measure of endurance that calculates the maximum volume of oxygen the body can use.

VO2 max is one of the best predictors of overall health.

HIIT and weight loss

People can burn comparable amounts of calories in HIIT routines lasting, compared to longer continuous exercise routines. But  this doesn't mean that calorie burn translates into weight loss

This is the problem with HIIT, just like with any other form of exercise: it’s much easier to lose weight by cutting calories in your diet than trying to burn excess calories.

Documented uses of the keto diet

Doctors have been prescribing ketogenic diets to treat epilepsy for nearly a century, and increasingly believe it holds promise for people with Type 2 diabetes.

But the older keto regi...

The Ketogenesis process

It supplies energy under circumstances such as fasting or caloric restriction to certain organs (e.g. the brain, heart, and skeletal muscle).

In ketogenesis, our livers start to break down fat into a usable energy source called ketones. Ketones can stand in for glucose as fuel for the body when there’s a glucose shortage. 

Once ketogenesis kicks in and ketone levels are elevated, the body is in a state called “ketosis,” during which it’s burning stored fat. 

The Keto diet
It is a very low-carb, high-fat diet. People on a ketogenic diet get 5 percent of their calories from carbohydrates, about 15 percent from protein, and 80 percent from fat. It’s this ratio that will force the body to derive much of its energy from ketones. 

That means eating mainly meats, eggs, cheese, fish, nuts, butter, oils, and vegetables while avoiding sugar, bread and other grains, beans, and even fruit.

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Intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting is a process that enables you to lose weight by mixing a low-calorie diet with unrestricted eating throughout the week. The issue is that many individuals tend to disobey t...

Recovering calorie deficit

While intermittent fasting has as main purpose to make the large calorie deficit remain unchanged after a period of fasting or low-calorie dieting, studies have shown that actually a combination of eating just a bit more and doing less physical activity can help recover half of this calorie deficit.

Intermittent fasting and its flexibility

When deciding on the best way to lose weight, intermittent fasting might be just the proper way for you. Due to its flexibility, this type of diet enables you to lose weight while still enjoying good meals.

However, it is entirely up to you to decide on the outcome of the diet, whatever this is.

Sleep And Weight Fluctuation
Sleep And Weight Fluctuation

Sleeping less has been associated with increased risk of obesity, and addition of body fat, as it affects the overall metabolism of the body, and can also affect our appetite.

Sleep duratio...

More Sleep Means Better Metabolism
  • Various studies point out that sleep influences two appetite hormones, leptin (to decrease appetite) and ghrelin (to stimulate appetite), which is also known as the hunger hormone.
  • Lack of sleep is associated with higher levels of ghrelin and lower levels of leptin, making the person more likely to overeat.
More Sleep And More Exercise
  • Sleep-deprived people crave for and also end up eating more carb-rich foods and sugar.
  • Sleep duration affects the release of insulin in the body, that affects our glucose levels, and prolonged sleep deprivation can lead to obesity and type 2 diabetes.
  • Research shows that exercise prevents the damage done by lack of sleep and also makes one eat less.

To stay healthy, one has to sleep more and also do regular exercise.

Metabolism

It refers to the biochemical processes that occur within living organisms to maintain life. These processes allow us to grow, reproduce, repair damage, and respond to our environment.

...

Metabolic Rate And Weight

It is a common belief that slim people have a higher metabolism and overweight people have a slower metabolism. But, this is rarely the case.

Overweight is in most cases a result of a lifestyle in which one group generally consumes more calories than they need. There isn’t much we can do to significantly change our resting metabolic rate, but long-term strategies, such as increasing muscle mass, may eventually have an effect.

Anabolism

Anabolism is a succession of chemical reactions that build molecules from smaller components and usually require energy. Anabolism allows the body to grow new cells and maintain all the tissues.

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