Exercise Can't Save You From a Lousy Diet

Editorial: It's a myth that lack of physical activity is to blame for obesity epidemic
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 23, 2015 1:54 PM CDT
Exercise Can't Save You From a Lousy Diet

(Newser) – Dutifully hitting the gym but still can't shed weight? You've been duped by the "myth" that exercise is the key to weight loss, declares an editorial generating some buzz at the British Journal of Sports Medicine. It argues that the West's obesity epidemic hasn't happened because we've turned into couch potatoes and get too little exercise, but instead because of the prevalence of lousy diets laden in sugar and carbs. The editorial's headline expresses the main idea: "You cannot outrun a bad diet." It blames the food industry—with tactics it likens to the tobacco industry's—for spreading the dangerous message that it's fine to down sugary drinks, for example, as long as you work off the extra calories later. Note all those soda commercials linked to sports.

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But that thinking displays a fundamental ignorance about how our bodies work, asserts the editorial, which argues that we need to pay attention to where our calories come from, not how many we consume. Sugar calories, for example, take more of a toll on us than those obtained from fat and protein, say the writers. "In the past 30 years, as obesity has rocketed, there has been little change in physical activity levels in the Western population," they write. "This places the blame for our expanding waist lines directly on the type and amount of calories consumed." It also means that just because someone isn't overweight doesn't necessarily mean he's healthy. Click for the full editorial. (Read more exercise stories.)

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