Exercise won’t help you lose weight, says a top diet expert

Exercise won’t help you lose weight, says a top diet expert

Exercise won’t help you lose weight, says a top diet expert

Exercising won’t help you lose weight in itself, sensationally asserted one of the country’s leading experts.

Professor Tim Spector, a prolific nutrition researcher and author, has accepted that exercise is ‘great’ for your overall health, especially your heart.

He even insisted that ‘we should all do it’.

But in terms of weight loss, Professor Spector argued that exercise is ‘useless in itself’. It goes against the advice of health agencies around the planet that claim it’s the ‘key’ to fighting the bulge.

Exercise won’t help you lose weight, says a top diet expert

Professor Spector admitted that while exercise is ‘great for your health’ and ‘fantastic for your mood’, you shouldn’t exercise alone if ‘your goal is to lose weight’

Professor Tim Spector (pictured above) said exercise has been 'vastly exaggerated as an easy fix for our obesity problem'

Professor Tim Spector (pictured above) said exercise has been ‘vastly exaggerated as an easy fix for our obesity problem’

Exercise — of any kind — actually plays a “very small role in weight loss,” he said on Steven Bartlett’s The Diary of a CEO podcast.

Professor Spector, who trained as an epidemiologist and became famous for tracking Covid during the pandemic, said: ‘All the long-term studies show that it doesn’t help weight loss…

‘It has been greatly exaggerated as a simple solution to our obesity problem.

‘All the studies show that.

‘The only caveat to this is if you’ve changed your diet, improved your diet and lost some weight, maintaining a certain amount of exercise prevents it from gaining back.

‘But on its own, if you don’t change your diet, there is no benefit and all the obesity experts and studies know that now.’

He added: ‘It’s great for your health, I exercise. It’s fantastic for your mood, it’s great for your heart.

‘We should all do it, but absolutely not if your goal is to lose weight.

‘It’s a huge myth, particularly perpetuated in gyms and fitness apps. It’s complete nonsense,’ he said.

Professor Spector’s comments go against some of the most trusted health advice. ‘Being active is key to losing weight and keeping it off,’ says the NHS.

It adds that eating fewer calories will help you lose weight, but to keep the flab permanently ‘requires physical activity to burn energy’.

A calorie is a way of measuring energy — either the amount contained in food or the amount burned during activity.

People gain weight when they consume more calories than they expend through daily activities. To lose weight, you need to consume more calories than you take in.

As a result, calorie restriction – or more exercise – are the first steps for many looking for a lean physique.

Speaking on the same podcast, Professor Spector advised that people who want to lose weight simply change their diet.

He said calorie counting, while effective in the short term, was ‘absolute nonsense’ as most people who stick to the grueling regime ‘recover’.

Instead, he advised eating more plant-based foods, within 10 hours and avoiding ultra-processed foods.

Official guidelines suggest that adults should get 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week spread over four to five days.

Examples of vigorous exercise include running, swimming, skipping and walking up stairs.

Similar advice – which also includes muscle-strengthening exercises two days a week – exists in the US.

A lack of exercise, combined with an unhealthy diet, has been blamed for the growing obesity epidemic around the world.

Two-thirds of British adults are overweight, and more of us are predicted to gain weight in the future. Rates are even higher in the US.

In other health news…

A 79-year-old grandmother was tied to a bin lid and rushed to the emergency room after breaking her hip ‘because there was no ambulance’ – as a shock NHS figures show that a record 45% of 999 teams stay out of the emergency room for at least 30 minutes

Huge jump in UK Covid cases amid ‘Kraken’ variant fears: One in 20 people were infected at Christmas after cases DOUBLE in December as NHS battles ‘twindemic’

Young doctors could go on strike for 72 HOURS in Marchwarns the ‘militant’ union demanding a 26% wage increase.

How should people lose weight?

Professor Tim Spector, a nutrition expert, said some people can lose weight in the short term by restricting their calorie intake. But almost everyone “returns” to their initial weight, and “many go above it,” he claimed.

He claimed the approach — which is being promoted by the NHS as one way to lose weight — is a ‘huge camouflage’ that keeps people focused on calories rather than the quality of what they eat.

Professor Spector shared his three tips for those who want to achieve their healthiest weight:

Avoid ultra-processed foods

Ultra-processed food is food that has undergone industrial processing and bears no resemblance to the original food from which it originates.

They usually contain a lot of added salt, sugar, fat and other chemical additives.

Researchers found that people who ate an ultra-processed diet consumed an additional 300 calories per day more than people who ate a minimally processed diet.

Advice: If you ever want to see how processed something is, look at how many ingredients it has. Generally speaking, the more ingredients, the more processed.

Try to eat within a time limit

Eat all your meals within ten hours and then fast for 14 hours, most of which happens overnight while you sleep. Like us, our gut microbes also need to rest and recover so we can give the gut lining time to repair itself. Our results from the ZOE Health Study showed that this almost immediately reduced snacking in your diet and more importantly, it stopped people from snacking late at night – the worst kind of snacking for our health.

Advice: Skipping breakfast or delaying it for a few hours is an easy way to extend your fast.

Eat 30 herbs every week

Instead of focusing on the number of calories, focus on the number of herbs per week.

For people who want to lose weight, I would recommend eating a variety of foods. 30 herbs a week is something we should all aim for to improve gut health.

Advice: Remember that a plant is not only fruits and vegetables, it is also nuts, seeds, herbs and spices, so it is easier than it looks.


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