Which Is Actually Better For Weight Loss: Diet Or Exercise?

Women's Health |

By Paige Greenfield; image from Freepik.com

And the winner is…

In a perfect world, everyone would work out enough and eat correctly all the time. But that’s not always possible, so we turned to the experts to find out what really matters most — dieting or exercise — for losing weight, fighting disease and boosting overall wellbeing. Here, we crown the champ in each category.

The Goal: Lose Weight

The winner: Diet
The reason: As research makes clear, trimming kilojoules from your diet is the most direct route to a smaller dress size. “It’s much easier for most people to cut 2 000kJ from their diet than it is to spend an hour in the gym trying to burn the same amount of kilojoules,” says dietician Charlene Giovanelli-Nicolson. However, both diet and exercise are essential for keeping that weight off.

READ MORE: Here’s Exactly How To Use Breakfast To Lose Weight

The Goal: Boost Energy

The winner: Exercise
The reason: Exercise causes the brain to pour out invigorating neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine, says exercise psychologist Dr Patrick O’Connor. People who train consistently report surges in energy, according to some 70 studies.

The Goal: Reduce Risk Of Heart Disease

The winner: Diet
The reason: “If you had to focus on one nutrient that would lower your heart disease risk, it would be omega-3 fatty acids,” says cardiovascular disease physician Dr William Harris. In studies, omega-3s from oily fish lower heart disease risk by up to 64 percent. That said, working out does strengthen your cardiovascular system, reducing risk.

READ MORE: 4 Easy Exercises You Can’t Ignore If You’re Walking For Weight Loss

The Goal: Prevent Diabetes

The winner: Exercise
The reason: Around 840 000 South Africans have diabetes. Achieving a healthy weight through diet and exercise is the strongest defence against the disease, but physical activity has a slight edge. Active muscles gobble up glucose from the blood for fuel, which helps keep blood-sugar levels stable.

The Goal: Prevent Cancer

The winner: Both
The reason: Eating a mostly plant-based diet and exercising regularly remain the gold standard for warding off cancer. Keep in mind: the more consistently you work out, the greater the protection.

The Goal: Improve Mood

The winner: Exercise
The reason: A 20-minute sweat session can be enough to perk up your mood for a whopping 12 hours, reports a recent US study. It may also be as effective as medication for treating depression. And exercise can lead to changes in the brain that protect you from stress.

So, which is actually better: cardio or weights? Plus: 6 bizarre things that can make you fat — other than food.

This article was originally published on www.womenshealthmag.com

READ MORE ON: Diet Advice Healthy Eating Tips Weight Loss Weight Loss Tips

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