While most people look at weight loss only from the perspective of ‘looking good’, there is a lot more to it than meets the eye, literally. Shedding kilos won’t just ensure that you look dapper in that slim-fit shirt; it will also cut your risk of serious health problems, especially those related to the heart.
But is there a fail-proof formula for weight loss? Is it following a certain diet? Or is it hitting the gym every day? Well, we have mentioned a few researches here that encourage us to focus on both - without going crazy, of course.
A systematic review done by the McMaster University in Ontario, Canada (2016) included over 3,500 overweight individuals in the age group 35-70 years. These people participated in exercise and/or diet programs spread over a time period of 1 to 6 years. For the study, the diet was designed to be a high-fibre, low-fat one that mainly included vegetables and fruits. The exercise regimes, on the other hand, focused on both resistance training and aerobic activities, such as walking, and were performed regularly.
The basic body measurements like body fat, waist circumference, weight and heart health records of the participants were assessed and compared to the readings taken before the starting of the programs. These were then studied to identify the most efficient way of reducing body fat, losing weight and boosting cardiovascular health.
So What’s The Verdict?
Like numerous other studies, this McMaster University review reinstates that diet alterations do help in weight loss, perhaps more than exercise. But the review also claims that in order to see maximum results, one has to work with a mix of both (diet and exercise). Yes, we know you thought you could skip the gym today – not really!
According to Dr Russell de Souza from McMaster, the review also emphasises on the relationship between diet and heart health. An increasing number of people are struggling with the problem of obesity all over the world, and this is also putting them at a higher risk of cardiovascular conditions. Dr De Souza, registered nutrition epidemiologist and dietitian at McMaster University’s Department of Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics, informs that a combination of exercise and diet can help minimise heart disease risk by reducing body fat, weight and blood pressure.
Another study, published in the Journal of The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics states that weight loss gets boosted in the long run when physical activity and diet are combined.
Various health and wellness institutes including the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest daily physical activity (moderate intensity) for anywhere between 30 and 90 minutes. Also, the activity needs to be performed a minimum of five times per week, depending on the individual goals – weight loss/weight maintenance – of the person.
An alternative suggestion provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is that you could perform high-intensity exercise for 20 minutes on three or more days per week.
Hope this gives you some direction in your weight loss journey!