Tuesday, June 17, 2008

How to Lose Weight Without Exercise

If working up a sweat on a treadmill at 5 a.m. or spending an hour a day in the gym on your way home from work isn't exactly your idea of a fun time, you may be excited to learn that you can still lose weight without exercising.

Researchers from the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana have concluded that dieting alone is equally effective at reducing weight and fat as is a combination of diet and exercise.

There's just one catch: To lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you consume. "It's all about the calories," said study leader Dr. Eric Ravussin. "So long as the energy deficit is the same, body weight, fat weight and abdominal fat will all decrease in the same way."

http://www.biotrainerusa.com/affiliates/pjambWhat's more, the research team concluded that exercise does not change body composition and abdominal fat distribution, which debunks the idea that specific exercises can reduce fat in targeted areas, such as around the tummy.

The study: Thirty-five overweight, but otherwise healthy adults, were randomly assigned to follow one of three diet and exercise combinations over a six-month period. The participants all had a body mass index (BMI) greater than 25 but less than 30.

The three plans:

1. Those in the control group followed a healthy diet designed to maintain their body weight.
2. The second group consumed a diet that reduced calories by 25 percent, which equaled between 550 and 900 fewer calories a day. They did not exercise.
3. The final group reduced their calories by 12.5 percent and increased their physical activity to achieve an additional 12.5 percent increase in calorie expenditure.

For the first three months of the study, the participants were provided with all their meals. During the final three months they could self-select food, but calorie consumption was monitored. Those in the exercise group had a structured regimen they followed five days a week. Everyone participated in weekly educational meetings that also boosted their motivation and morale.

The results: Participants in both the calorie-restricted group and the exercise group lost approximately 10 percent of their body weight, 24 percent of their fat mass, and 27 percent of their abdominal visceral fat. The distribution of the fat in the body, however, was not altered by either approach. "The inability of the interventions to alter the distribution of fat suggests that individuals are genetically programmed for fat storage in a particular pattern and that this programming cannot easily be overcome," said Ravussin. "It also helps settle much of the debate over the independent and combined effects of dieting and increased physical activity on improving metabolic risk factors such as body composition and fat distribution."

But do note this: The researchers were quick to point out that exercise does improve aerobic fitness, which has other important cardiovascular and metabolic implications. "For overall health, an appropriate program of diet and exercise is still the best," said Ravussin.

The findings were published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
--From the Editors at Netscape