Diet vs Exercise: The Weightloss Conundrum

What is better diet or exercise

Obesity and being overweight are common health concerns that plague people across the world. It is known to be a major risk factor for a variety of lifestyle diseases. Some of these include high blood pressure, type-2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, heart disease and arthritis among others. It is important to maintain a healthy weight to keep your body healthy and lower the risk of such health conditions. In the pursuit of weight loss, people often tend to have a preference for simplistic approaches that focus solely on diet or just on exercise. However, it’s important to understand the benefits and importance of both.

Diet and its Benefits

The food we eat determines our overall health and directly affects our weight. When we think of diet and weight loss, most people think of counting calories, fasting and other approaches to lower food intake. However, there are better and easier ways to induce weight loss without resorting to such extreme measures. Here are some dietary approaches that you can use to lose weight effectively:

1. Eat Fibre-rich Foods

Fibre-rich foods are low in calories and also keep your body full for longer.

2. Drink a Glass of Water Before Meals

Drinking a glass of water before your meals will help you to eat less.

3. Drink Coffee or Tea

Coffee and tea can increase your metabolic rate and they also work as appetite suppressants, which means that they’ll keep your hunger at bay for longer.

4. Eat Healthy Snacks

When hungry between meals, opt for healthy snacks such as nuts, fruits and dark chocolate.

5. Eat a Protein-rich Breakfast

Eating a protein-rich breakfast will keep you energized and help you avoid snacking later in the day.

6. Avoid Refined Carbohydrates

Refined carbohydrates, such as white bread get digested rapidly causing sugar spikes and increased hunger that leads to weight gain.

7. Avoid Sugar and Carbonated Drinks

Sugar and carbonated drinks are some of the worst choices as they are calorie-dense, but offer no nutritional value.

Exercise and its Benefits

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Exercise is important for overall well-being but it becomes even more important in the context of weight loss. Exercise helps by burning more calories and also by using excess fat in the body as an energy source. It also helps weight reduction by speeding up metabolism. Here are some forms of exercise that you can adopt to aid your weight loss goals. At least 150 minutes a week of any of the physical activities below will lead to significant weight loss.

1. Walking

Walking for at least 30 minutes a day helps burn calories and is a low-intensity exercise. Walking is the best form of cardio for beginners.

2. Running

Jogging or running is an excellent way to lose weight and get in shape, also improving cardiovascular endurance. This form of cardio is better suited to individuals who are already physically active.

3. Weights Lifting

Weights lifting and using weights can promote rapid weight loss as this builds muscle mass and boosts metabolism. 

4. Yoga

Practising Yoga improves metabolism, tones muscles and burns calories while increasing flexibility.

The Takeaway

Although exercise can help with burning calories and reducing fat faster, adopting exercise alone is not enough to promote weight loss. Studies have shown that a combination of regular exercise and following a healthy diet provides the best results for effective weight loss. As a general rule of thumb, the calories burned in a day should be more than the calories consumed. By combining a healthy diet with a regular exercise routine, you can achieve the calorie deficit required for weight loss.


Dr Sunanda Ranade

Sunanda Ranade is Vice-Chairman of the International Academy of Ayurved, Pune, India, and an expert Ayurvedic gynecologist and nutritionist. She has been working in this field for the last 47 years. Dr. Sunanda Ranade holds a Doctorate in Ayurveda. She is also the author of several books on Ayurveda and Yoga, which have been published in Marathi, English, Spanish, and Portuguese.


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