The science is in: Exercise isn’t the best way to lose weight

The science is in: Exercise isn’t the best way to lose weight

We have this idea that if we want to lose
weight, we join a gym on January 1st, we start working out regularly, and eventually we’ll
slim down. Well, here’s some bad news.
I read more than sixty studies on this, and it turns out exercise is actually pretty useless
when it comes to weight loss. Dr. Kevin Hall at the National Institutes of Health has done some of the most important studies on exercise and weight loss
We need to rebrand exercise … exercise isn’t a weight loss tool per se, it’s excellent
for health is probably the best single thing that you can do other than stopping smoking
to improve your health. But don’t look at it as a weight loss tool.
Exercise will definitely help you live a longer, happier life…. It’s just not the best
way to lose weight. And the reason has to do with how our bodies use energy.
You may not realize it, but physical activity is actually a tiny component of your daily
energy burn. There are three main ways our bodies burn
calories. These include your resting metabolism, so
that’s how much energy your body burns just for its basic functioning, just to keep you
alive, basically. The other part of energy expenditure is the
thermic effect of food, and that’s just how much energy is required to break food
down in your body. The third part of energy expenditure is physical
activity. For most people, physical activity – that’s
any movement you do, only accounts for about 10 to 30 percent of energy use.
So the vast majority of energy or calories you burn every day comes from your basal or
resting metabolism, over which you have very little control.
While 100% of your “calories in” are up to you, only up to about 30% of your “calories
out” are in your control. One study found that if a 200-pound man ran
for an hour, 4 days a week for a month, he’d lose about 5 pounds at most, assuming everything
else stays the same. And everything else doesn’t stay the same!
Researchers have found we make all kinds of behavioral and physiological adaptations when
we start increasing the amount of exercise we’re getting every day.
For one thing, exercise tends to make people hungry.
And I’m sure you know the feeling: you go for a spinning class in the morning, and
then by the time you eat breakfast you’re so hungry you maybe double the size of the
portion of oatmeal you normally eat. There’s also evidence to suggest that some
people simply slow down after a work out, so if you went running in the morning you
might be less inclined to take the stairs at work.
These are called “compensatory behaviors” — the various ways we unknowingly undermine
our workouts. Researchers have also discovered a phenomenon
called metabolic compensation. As people start to slim down, their resting metabolism can slow down. So the amount of energy you burn while at rest is lower. That means this bar might shrink as you start to lose weight. There’s still a lot of research to be done,
but one study from 2012 is particularly interesting. They went out into the middle of the Savannah
in Tanzania to measure the energy burn among a group of hunter gathers called the Hadza.
These are super-active, lean hunter-gatherers. They’re not spending their days behind a computer at a desk. And what they found was shocking. What we found is that there was no difference at all. So even though the Hadza have a much more physically active lifestyle, they weren’t burning any more calories every day than adults in the US and Europe.
Somehow the energy they used for physical activity was being offset or conserved elsewhere.
So how do they stay slim? They don’t overeat. We can undo the calories that we burn off in exercise pretty quickly. It would take about an hour of running to burn off a Big Mac and fries. You’d have to spend about an hour dancing
pretty vigorously to burn off three glasses of wine you might drink with dinner.
An hour of cycling really intensely on exercise bikes to burn off about two doughnuts.
That’s why exercise is best seen as a healthy supplement for a strategy that’s focused
on food. But despite extremely high obesity rates in
the US, government agencies continue to present exercise as a solution
… as do companies with a real interest in making sure we keep eating and drinking their
products. Since the 1920s, companies like Coca-Cola
have been aligning themselves with the exercise message.
The idea here is that you can drink all these extra bottles of soda as long as you work
out. But as we’re seeing, it doesn’t work like that. Actually burning off those extra calories from a can of soda is really, really hard. We have an obesity problem in this country, and we shouldn’t treat low physical activity and eating too many calories as equally responsible for it. Public health policymakers should really prioritize improving our food environment to help people make healthier choices about what they eat. It’s not impossible to lose weight through exercise, it’s just a lot harder. And we need to recognize how that works. If you do go to the gym, and you burn all these calories, it takes you a long time to do so and you put in a great amount of effort, you can erase all of that in five minutes of eating a slice of pizza. Relative magnitude is actually quite surprising, and most people don’t fully appreciate that.

Comments (100)

  1. I learned nothing from this video, but I was annoyed when she said. "Exercise is pretty useless when it comes to weight loss."

    Absolutely not. Sure its hard to lose weight if you dont change your diet, but exercising is an essential part of losing weight. It is a combination of both that is good for you. Exercise allows you to lose weight and can allow you to retain muscle while losing weight. Having higher muscle to fat ratio will make you look slimmer. I.e. there are people who are of "overweight" BMI that aren't fat because they have a lot of muscle that makes them heavy.

    I like how she starts the video with that bs line then ends it with exercise being helpful and as she said you can burn a big mac and fries by running for an hour. If you burn a big mac and fries every day then you end up losing weight quickly if you eat healthier as well.

  2. “Just eat less lmao” > this is actually very true but Americans are still obese lol

  3. Video summary: Exercise is useful for weight loss just as long you eat healthy and don't over eat. It increases your strength and endurance. It makes you fit. The more you do it the more you get used to it and you'll start to enjoy it more.

  4. I do exercises to be fit

  5. How to lose weight:
    Step one: drink only Pedialyte
    Step two: wear sweats
    Step three: turn humidifier to 100%
    Step four: WrEStle

  6. You don't have to burn any calories if you don't gain any to begin with.

  7. Just pop some phentermine that stuff works

  8. This video is pure facts. I worked out 3 days a week for a year and while I got stronger, I never lost weight in the way I thought I would. A couple years go by and I focus on what I’m eating and within 6 months I lost 30 pounds. There was no exercise routine implemented.

  9. The very last comment made in this video: "you can undo an entire workout by eating a slice of pizza." nailed it!

    As a health coach and personal trainer, I emphasize building your physique, improving balance and coordination, improving your mood, energy, etc., improving all sorts of metabolic health numbers, and plenty more as the benefits of exercise. But when I talk about weight loss, it's all about the kitchen, less intake and/or healthier intake. It's so much (physically, not mentally) easier to not eat something then spend an hour on a treadmill or bike.

  10. Some people think it’s all the hormone disrupters that are being leeched from our plastics!
    I seriously know overweight people who eat WAY les than their thin counterparts.

  11. biggest bs video i have ever seen

  12. I actually could not wait around to use the weight loss program “Yamzοkο Weebly” (Google it). This has given me thrills. My friend lost 10 pounds just after this kind of weight loss plan, I really highly recommend you research Google to learn how. .

  13. Am I the only one that thought the lady at 4:02 was friggin huge?
    "Woah man, she gripped that liter of soda like it was nothing".

  14. you mean cardio is not good for loosing weight, lifting and building muscles raises your metabolism

  15. people who aren't obese or overweight also need to work out, eat some fiber and potassioum rich foods, avoid processed sugar most days of the week. its a recommendation for anyone whos still healthy enough to do so, not just overweight people. but considering i can maintain weight even on OMAD, i could probably compensate for a marathon worth of excercise if i didn't restrict my eating in some way.

  16. 1. Exercise increases muscle mass, which in turn increases your basal metabolic mass. This means that even at rest, someone with a higher muscle mass will burn more calories than someone with a lower muscle mass.
    2. Weight loss through diet without the addition of exercise results in loss of both fat AND muscle. Much of the weight people lose quickly through fad diets is muscle, which causes a lower basal metabolic rate and unsustained weight loss. Less muscle mass can also lead to Type 2 Diabetes, which is just as much a crisis in North America as obesity, and increases the risk of numerous cancers and heart conditions.

    Bottom Line: While weight loss is important, it is even more important to make sure you are losing weight in a healthy, sustainable way. Often times weight loss alone isn't enough to truly make your body healthier – this is where exercise comes in.

  17. well done fatties

  18. that is so untrue.. so untrue…. so untrue, quality calories , there are no callories as callories, try eat less, exercise more, it is adictive, it is energisering, this video is soooo sooo soo unprofesional … it is made for primary schoolers .Why can you eat just one meal a day?

  19. Your resting metabolism is the biggest use of caloric energy. Muscle takes much more calories to simply maintain than fat. So strength building exercise will certainly help. Look in to it ??‍♂️

  20. Do low carb diet! My sister already lost 4 pounds in 1 week!

  21. Exercise is just as important as eating moderately

  22. This video also doesn’t account that initially increased exercise lowers BMR, but after time it actually increases it, it also greatly depends on the TYPE of exercise you are doing.

  23. Now we should open up a Mc donalds in Tanzania.

  24. when you start exercising you start gaining self-discipline and you grow stronger too.

  25. so just don't eat
    still this was surprisingly helpful LOL

  26. I really wish I had learn the “Yamzοkο Weebly” (Google it) years ago. For 15 days of using the plans, I dropped TWELVE lbs Naturally I exercise once or twice a week, and eat good food. The actual result shown to me is astounding. Undoubtedly, this plan is strongly suggested and I also do hope this would deliver the results to you too mainly because it did to me. .

  27. I actually had this thought in mind about doing exercise…..JUST A THOUGHT… and somehow YouTube put this into my recommendations………hmmmmmmmmm

  28. I don’t think people need help choosing what they eat. They more likely need to be educated on what they’re eating.

  29. This doesn’t make sense. So all those buff and lean Olympians, how did they get so lean and cut? Obviously diet matters but so does working out.

    Kenyan marathon runners eat tons and tons of sugar and they are super skinny.

    Michael Phelps was said to eat 12k calories per day and look how skinny he was. Exercising does help you stay lean, we have the examples of athletes to disprove this research.

  30. Lmao.. just something to upload.

  31. Drink contaminated water
    Weight loss

    Boom. Mind blown

  32. Exercise makes u hungry and u stick to the diet to lose weight if u break the diet the exercise won't have a huge effect

  33. A lot of people in the comment section say that having more muscle mass will increase your resting metabolism. I just don't know how that would happen. Your body will always use as little resources as possible to do anything. If you are lifting a glass of water it should take around as much energy when you aren't muscular as when you have above average muscle mass. You will use less potential of your muscles but in the end amount of energy consumed should be nearly the same. Everything above is just my thoughts not backed by any paper. Feel free to prove me wrong.

  34. Notice nobody in that video was physically fit. I wonder why?

  35. Easy to gain, hard to lose :/

  36. How about gain weight?

  37. Count your calories&macros… it works pretty well.

  38. The first hour of work-out burns less than the second hour of work-out. Why? Because it gets you out of the food environment where you feel the need to eat something while working out. It takes effort.

  39. this makes me feel better about not working out lol

  40. I hope this isnt true but I onow it is…???

  41. yeah i’m pretty high and pretty hungry

  42. They really did half their homework here. Losing weight through diet change is not simple at all, works for almost nobody, and is subject to the same and many other compensatory systems within the body – right down to dulled electrophysiological taste responses. There is so much variation here from your genetics, to your epigenetic, right up to what your mother’s level of stress was during pregnancy. Many of these factors lock in and become irreversible by the time you are an adult. Thus, scientific studies of diet-induced obesity seek to study the effects of things like decreasing microglia in the brain to restore food intake to lean control.

    In essence, by saying “you just need to eat less,” you are suggesting that a person should go on living the rest of their entire life in a state of hunger. Hunger is one of the most motivating human experiences and is an integral part of our body designed by evolution to be impossible to ignore. For a vast majority of overweight and obese people, the effect of increased hunger will NEVER reverse no matter the diet. Even people who undergo acute obesity intervention -like gastric bypasses, gastric bands, and liposuction – gain all of that weight back within a very short time.

    Adipose tissue is an organ like any other. And, as such, will exert effects to maintain homeostasis. These effects can be pervasive and include irreversible changes to the genes that impact hunger, satiety, taste responses, immunology, hepatic factors, digestion, and other facets of metabolism.

  43. Just weight loss is not enough ..
    To feel fresh a little bit of excercise is good..
    I mean running in park etc not just going to gym

  44. C’mon Vox… that’s why it’s called diet an exercise… this is how people give obesity an excuse…

  45. Boo you're forget the visible benefits : improved stamina , and eh, toned body, More athletic shaped and hard body (wanted to say flesh or meat but you know what it could go into that's not what I meant) when pinched especially on legs eh, second language never looked it up maybe part of being toned?

  46. Weight gain is not caused by a lack of exercise, but by eating too much of the wrong foods.

  47. Long story short……….
    Eat less,
    Eat clean,
    Be active. That’s it……

  48. They are not saying exercise doesn't help to lose weight, they are saying the main thing should be eating less/healthier, which is completely right. Exercise is much less important to lose weight than caloric intake – for general health though, it is probably a different story.

  49. Did vox just did exercise

  50. Can confirm I lost 14lbs by eating less and sleeping 2/3 of the day

  51. Then what is best way??

  52. Your weight = 70% your food and 30% your exercise is the best way to put if.

  53. Thumb downs are dissapointed fatties with the hope of outworking their overeating.

  54. Nothing I didn’t know already

  55. Gluttony is a sin after all

  56. …but, it doesn’t have like bacon ? around it.

  57. Anorexia: I am I joke to you

  58. Dont tell them what they want to know. Teller them the truth

  59. Losing weight is 70% diet and 30% workout Dumbo's.

  60. Fuckas needa chill out on the cigs/cancer sticks.

  61. Moral of the story, you can’t out train a bad diet

  62. Just dry fast. Drop 20 pounds in 3 days

  63. Try meth, makes you not eat for up to 20 days.

  64. This video is suggesting that people who dedicatedly work out are people who still drink tonnes of Soda, eat pizza every day, and in general do not care at all about their diet. This is generally untrue, most people who put time and effort into exercise will watch what they eat and try to fuel their body appropriately.

    Another problem I have with this video is that all of the exercise examples they are giving are cardio based examples, anyone who knows about fitness, the human body and how it works knows that cardio is hands down the worst way to lose weight. As they said in this video, your Basal Metabolic Rate will decrease the more you exercise – with cardio. Your body is an adaptation machine, if you do cardio regularly, your BMR will decrease to conserve energy because it knows its going to need it for that run later. If you weight train, you are increasing your body's muscle mass, and therefore increasing the amount of energy your body needs to maintain it's size, which is exactly what your body wants to do – be in homeostasis. So, weight training will increase the overall size of your muscles, and in turn your body will want to maintain that muscle mass, and therefore not compensate and decrease your Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT), which is the example of taking versus not taking the stairs in this video, it's your daily energy use that is unplanned exercise: a walk, taking the stairs, fidgeting throughout the day instead of sitting still, those sorts of things.

    TLDR: Weight train, which will result in increasing your BMR, as well as increase your calories out, which will help lose weight in a more controlled and sustainable way. Watch what you eat, take a BMR calculator to figure out your calories, and weight train. This video is ridiculous.

  65. I mean, If you for some reason HAVE to choose between either exercising or eating less obviously eating less is going to be more effective, but doing both is definitely the best way to go. Why do people keep stirring up this debate?

  66. Just eat beoccoli its like 20 of em just for 200 calories y9ull be full

  67. In 5 months since I started to go to the gym lost 22+ lbs (10kg) of weight, while gained 11lbs of muscle ( info from BMI test). Running every day 1 mile, 4+ miles every other day (depends on how willing I am to continue. Then after that muscle training, arms, chest, shoulders, back synchronized with 1 mile run, and core, lower back and legs with 4+ mile run day. Normally I stay in gym for 1.3- 2 hours. And only thing I changed in my diet: just eating candy bit less than before but I do eat a giant pancake breakfast with chocolate every weekend, no junk food (wasn't eating fast food in years). But I'm obsessed with gym (6-7 times a week). 173 (5'8") 62 kg (136 lbs). From my experience it's just about to be willing to invest time and actually going to the gym.

  68. All calories aren't the same. Eat plant based for 4 months you'll lose so much weight. Exercise helps the body shift toxic garbage In lymph
    . Something like bouncing on a trampoline is great for shifting lymph..running or walking is good also..

    Mild to moderate exercise isn't a mistake it has many health benefits but stay away from refined and processed foods excess fats and oils and don't consume chemicals like artificial sweeteners. Research shows they're linked to type 2 diabetes by altering gut microbiota.

    Be careful who you listen to there's a lot of misinformation that's potentially very dangerous being spread online.

  69. People who are slim but eat lots of food are either exercising a lot more or eating better quality food higher in soluble plant fibre eg from fruit and vegetables.

  70. Try fasting, work out, throw up.

  71. So… What is the best way to lose weight?

  72. Thanks from Egypt ??

  73. Be at a caloric deficit, then you’ll lose weight. Very straight forward.

  74. I workout out almost everyday except the weekends and I’m never hungry after a workout I lose my appetite if anything

  75. Balance diet, one based on plants, exercise regularly, 5, 10, or even 15 minuets a day, the key is consistency

  76. 1. Eat alot healthy fats, some meat, no carbs for a few days. 2. You become less hungry and eat once a day. 3. And the rest is history…

  77. I went up and down the stairs in a 8 story shopping mall for 3 hours after eating a 2000 calorie pizza and i felt hungry

  78. The title only is motivation for many

  79. That compensatory behaviour is totally true.

  80. In all things moderation.

  81. Just control what you eat. That simple.

  82. This is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.

  83. Losing weight doesn't mean your healthy

  84. Ok they are right but when you exercise it heightens your metabolism

  85. But it can improve lungs and heart health and make muscles stronger. But yes only exercising doesn't make you lose weight, diet contributes 70% to that

  86. Intermittent fasting. That’s it. That’s the solution.

  87. I didn't exercise for a couple months and just layed around, I gained so much weight that i looked different. Now I'm working hard to slim down, exercise works.

  88. my best way to lose weight is being a college student

  89. Well, time to get 1×1 tofu to eat for the 30 days challenge. I will be slim in one time.

  90. For all the Peruvians out there, min 4:18. You are welcome.

  91. Ok, so 10 to 30% is average for activity
    But what if I'm hitting the gym 2 times per day 6 day a week. It sounds much more than average

  92. Naw all we need is a shake weight

  93. Wow after watching this video I just lose 5 min of my life ?

  94. After an exercise I don’t have any appetite to eat honestly

  95. People that click on this video are the people that don’t want to put in the work and go to the gym ?

  96. quit dinner, quit dinner, quit dinner. No need to exercise you can lose so much weight. Been there, done that.

  97. This video was so sad

  98. WOW yea. Just drink a lot of water when eating, especially before eating. Eat home cooked, proportioned meals three times a day only. Exercise for extra healthiness.

    You're Welcome.

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