You might think getting off your butt and moving a bit can benefit your health—and it can. But now experts are calling B.S. on another benefit of exercise that everyone takes for granted: They say exercise doesn't actually help you lose weight, according to a recent British Journal of Sports Medicine editorial written by a cardiologist, an exercise and sports science professor, and a psychology professor.
"Regular physical activity reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia, and some cancers by at least 30%. However, physical activity does not promote weight loss," they write, making their stance crystal clear.
The authors' main argument is that obesity has skyrocketed in the past few decades, while physical activity levels have remained fairly stagnant. The obvious culprit: Everyone is eating garbage.
But they're not blaming you for picking pizza over produce. Instead, the authors point their fingers at the food industry, which, like big tobacco companies, spews out marketing materials that distort the facts to confuse the public.
For instance: The notion that all calories are equal, regardless of the source? The authors say this is false. (The truth is that "sugar calories promote fat storage and hunger. Fat calories induce fullness or 'satiation,'" they write.)
And that whole bit about carb-loading to provide energy for workouts? The authors say this isn't true, either. High-carb diets could increase athletes' risk of developing type-2 diabetes, they write, whereas athletes who eat low-carb diets can just as easily burn fat for fuel.
Other offenders are celebrities, who endorse unsafe and unhealthy foods, and fitness centers that sell sugary drinks and junk food, they write. And they're calling for an end to all of it.
Until that happens (and don't hold your breath), don't just stash your sneakers and throw in the towel. Regular workouts are still good for your body and mind, without a doubt. But if you're trying to lose weight and not seeing results, the best exercise could be examining your diet. Then stick with the advice that health experts can't possibly dispute: Eat fewer processed foods and drinks, don't fear dietary fats, and don't overeat—unless your fork is full of fresh fruits or veggies, in which case, eat as much as you can.