How calories and exercise affect weight loss
Global Energy Balance Network, a new nonprofit organization, claims that obesity isn’t due to the types of food people eat, but is primarily a result of people not exercising enough to balance the calories they consume. The organization is funded by the world’s largest nonalcoholic beverage producer, Coca-Cola.
“Most of the focus in the popular media and in the scientific press is, ‘Oh they’re eating too much, eating too much, eating too much’ — blaming fast food, blaming sugary drinks and so on,’ ”said Steven N. Blair, the organization’s vice president, in a news release. The exercise scientist also said there is almost no compelling evidence that poor diet is the cause of obesity.
“I disagree with this organization’s claims as it’s impossible for the majority of people to make up for poor diet through exercise,” says Brandon Nemeth, fitness coordinator at Advocate Christ Medical Center. “I tell my clients that they can out eat or drink any fitness routine. Exercise can only burn so many calories and it’s usually much less than most people think.”
According to my MyFitnessPal, a 135-pound person who runs for 30 minutes at 6 mph (a 10-minute mile) will burn 306 calories. The same person taking a brisk 30-minute walk at 3.5 mph will burn 116 calories. A medium serving of fast food fries has 340 calories and a 12-ounce Coca-Cola has 140 calories, equaling nearly 500 calories.
Nemeth says that exercise is important for overall health and calorie burning, but those who don’t change their diet will not likely see the pounds drop.
“You will lose the most weight when you eat a healthy diet, reduce calories consumed and exercise,” he says.
Stacie Schutz, a registered dietitian with Advocate Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn, Ill., agrees.
“Some people believe in the calorie in, calorie out equation,” Schutz says. “This means that if you burn any excess calories above what your body requires, it doesn’t matter if your calories come from vegetables or desserts. However, with foods and drinks high in sugar, your body does not get the nutrients it needs nor the satisfaction of being full. A high sugar content triggers your mind to want more. This can lead to overeating and weight gain.”
Nemeth and Schutz both agree that a healthy diet is crucial to helping impact a person’s weight-loss goals.
About the Author
Kate Eller, health enews contributor, is director of public affairs for Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center and Advocate Lutheran General Hospital. She came to Chicago and Advocate in 2014 after living in Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas and Texas. She enjoys road trips, exploring little towns, minimalism, hiking and urban hiking around Chicago.