The science is in: Exercise isn’t the best way to lose weight

The science is in: Exercise isn’t the best way to lose weight

We have this idea that if we want to lose
weight, we join a gym on January 1st, we start working out regularly, and eventually we’ll
slim down. Well, here’s some bad news.
I read more than sixty studies on this, and it turns out exercise is actually pretty useless
when it comes to weight loss. Dr. Kevin Hall at the National Institutes of Health has done some of the most important studies on exercise and weight loss
We need to rebrand exercise … exercise isn’t a weight loss tool per se, it’s excellent
for health is probably the best single thing that you can do other than stopping smoking
to improve your health. But don’t look at it as a weight loss tool.
Exercise will definitely help you live a longer, happier life…. It’s just not the best
way to lose weight. And the reason has to do with how our bodies use energy.
You may not realize it, but physical activity is actually a tiny component of your daily
energy burn. There are three main ways our bodies burn
calories. These include your resting metabolism, so
that’s how much energy your body burns just for its basic functioning, just to keep you
alive, basically. The other part of energy expenditure is the
thermic effect of food, and that’s just how much energy is required to break food
down in your body. The third part of energy expenditure is physical
activity. For most people, physical activity – that’s
any movement you do, only accounts for about 10 to 30 percent of energy use.
So the vast majority of energy or calories you burn every day comes from your basal or
resting metabolism, over which you have very little control.
While 100% of your “calories in” are up to you, only up to about 30% of your “calories
out” are in your control. One study found that if a 200-pound man ran
for an hour, 4 days a week for a month, he’d lose about 5 pounds at most, assuming everything
else stays the same. And everything else doesn’t stay the same!
Researchers have found we make all kinds of behavioral and physiological adaptations when
we start increasing the amount of exercise we’re getting every day.
For one thing, exercise tends to make people hungry.
And I’m sure you know the feeling: you go for a spinning class in the morning, and
then by the time you eat breakfast you’re so hungry you maybe double the size of the
portion of oatmeal you normally eat. There’s also evidence to suggest that some
people simply slow down after a work out, so if you went running in the morning you
might be less inclined to take the stairs at work.
These are called “compensatory behaviors” — the various ways we unknowingly undermine
our workouts. Researchers have also discovered a phenomenon
called metabolic compensation. As people start to slim down, their resting metabolism can slow down. So the amount of energy you burn while at rest is lower. That means this bar might shrink as you start to lose weight. There’s still a lot of research to be done,
but one study from 2012 is particularly interesting. They went out into the middle of the Savannah
in Tanzania to measure the energy burn among a group of hunter gathers called the Hadza.
These are super-active, lean hunter-gatherers. They’re not spending their days behind a computer at a desk. And what they found was shocking. What we found is that there was no difference at all. So even though the Hadza have a much more physically active lifestyle, they weren’t burning any more calories every day than adults in the US and Europe.
Somehow the energy they used for physical activity was being offset or conserved elsewhere.
So how do they stay slim? They don’t overeat. We can undo the calories that we burn off in exercise pretty quickly. It would take about an hour of running to burn off a Big Mac and fries. You’d have to spend about an hour dancing
pretty vigorously to burn off three glasses of wine you might drink with dinner.
An hour of cycling really intensely on exercise bikes to burn off about two doughnuts.
That’s why exercise is best seen as a healthy supplement for a strategy that’s focused
on food. But despite extremely high obesity rates in
the US, government agencies continue to present exercise as a solution
… as do companies with a real interest in making sure we keep eating and drinking their
products. Since the 1920s, companies like Coca-Cola
have been aligning themselves with the exercise message.
The idea here is that you can drink all these extra bottles of soda as long as you work
out. But as we’re seeing, it doesn’t work like that. Actually burning off those extra calories from a can of soda is really, really hard. We have an obesity problem in this country, and we shouldn’t treat low physical activity and eating too many calories as equally responsible for it. Public health policymakers should really prioritize improving our food environment to help people make healthier choices about what they eat. It’s not impossible to lose weight through exercise, it’s just a lot harder. And we need to recognize how that works. If you do go to the gym, and you burn all these calories, it takes you a long time to do so and you put in a great amount of effort, you can erase all of that in five minutes of eating a slice of pizza. Relative magnitude is actually quite surprising, and most people don’t fully appreciate that.


  1. WOW yea. Just drink a lot of water when eating, especially before eating. Eat home cooked, proportioned meals three times a day only. Exercise for extra healthiness.

    You're Welcome.

  2. Guys please make sure your camera and camera guy isn't reflect in shiny object . In this video part 2.08 oats is putting by camera man can clearly seen through that little shinny spoon.

  3. I've noticed that when I exercise vigorously on a regular basis that it suppresses my appetite for unhealthy foods and I end up consuming fewer calories as a result.

  4. This is some serious cop-out twisting of research. If someone sits around and barely eats all day, versus someone that eats more but is more active, the second person is going to have a richer life with lower levels of depression, stronger social relationships, and better physical health.

  5. I`ve been utilizing this weight loss plan “Yamzοkο Weebly” (Google it) for several days now and so far I like them! They provide me lots of strength and also control my desire for food, however I don`t crash whenever they wear off which I like, and they also don`t cause me to feel jittery. I did absolutely nothing special on my very own diet and i also still manage to reduced my unwanted weight to 7 pounds. .

  6. Your legs are meant to run.Exercise can strengthen your bones, muscles and heart.It's not about loosing weight, it’s about staying healthy.

  7. Sup Vox, rock out a vid like this when you can – say, psych X…🤔(edit) sorry, not psych X. I meant, "psych K" 😉

  8. Please like this up for motivation!!
    I need to lose 5-10 pounds
    1 like=5 sit ups and 10 leg lifts (each leg)
    1 Comment=1 min high knees and 30 second plank

    Love you!!!!!! Hope you can improve your health aswell

  9. 75% of people here think that this video is against exercise
    25% of people here actually know what the video is talking about

  10. wait, why is the underweight category lumped in with normal but overweight is its own category? vox does know that they can both be unhealthy right?

  11. 3:43 — Umm, this is too much percentage wise. All of these things together add up to 106.3%. Which means either the extremely obese (6.3%) really don't weigh anything at all, or someone did their math wrong.

  12. diet to loose weight, exercise to tone your body your clothes look good on you and build muscles so you can get stuff done.

  13. This video was literally the “aha” moment in my life! I have lost over 30 lbs in a span of 4 months because I understand now how my body gains/looses weight. Thank you Vox!

  14. Well all that facts about weight loss are based on the decisions of the individual. Like u have to put limits on how much u will eat or for how much u will exercise

  15. Regular exercise and choosing food carefully is the key.
    Building muscle mass and doing cardio build a healthy body adding good nutrition to that mix equals health.
    Making intelligent food choices of nutrient dense foods that are low in calories and carbohydrates.
    Fish,green vegetables for example.

  16. Well I can’t believe how many videos on here They put anything on YouTube now days that are not true Low-calorie diet and exercise as a way to go

  17. But the thing is, exercise causes micro tears in muscles, which is then rebuilt with extra muscle via recovery. With the increased muscle mass, your metabolism speeds up and you can lose more weight. Don't write off exercise everyone, it's more a long term thing.

  18. There comes a theory "A" to achieve health goal.
    Then comes the theory "B" to prove theory "A" was not right.
    Then comes the theory "C" to prove the first two wrong.
    And the process goes on.
    Hence proved, Science is so confused now a days

  19. Exercising, as in the act of excess movement, doesn't use a whole lot of calories. Daily brain activity uses more than an hour long workout session. But, as other comments mention, the muscle mass gained from exercising uses a lot more calories on a daily basis than the workouts you do. That's why bodybuilders need to eat so many calories, just to upkeep their muscle mass on top of daily activities.

  20. Exercise can help losing weight, but too much exercise can be unhealthy. We should well move around after all that's what our body is really for. It is not only energy expenditure, exercise can change your mood, hormone balance and attitude to life, hence your body composition. Also, exercise can decrease your appetite if you are lucky. Do it with a mindful, considerate eating and you can win.

  21. Hi Vox, I’m interested in knowing more about this. You point out to some studies in your video. Could you make available your sources, maybe in a document? Thanks so much!

  22. Super exagerated. 100% vs 30%. Instead of focusing on the 70% where you have to do nothing about. Focus in the positive dear editor, don’t waste your energy con negativities.

  23. This is why intermittent fasting is so easy and successful. Do not overeat. It's all about caloric intake control. I'm down 35 pounds in 4 months, and I haven't changed anything besides my eating. Still running the same miles. Still cycling the same miles. All I did is stop eating outside of the 9am to 1pm window. Just water for dinner. I allow myself 1 cheat day per week and fight my cravings at night.

  24. I found this out when I exercised only but didn’t loose weight vs when I reduced my meal size by half with no exercise and lost 10kg. Now I exercise just to keep fit.

  25. OMG why is it so hard for y'all to understand what they were actually saying? It's like you just want to pick a fight or something. Did you seriously not understand what they were saying or are you just angry at something/someone else and trying to get your anger out?

  26. Exercise isn’t the way at all)) only proper diet is. While.. exercise serves different purpose – discipline (“you work hard and paid gym memebership to lose weight, so you might think twice before eating that cookie or cake or something”)

  27. Just because you lose weight, it doesn't necessarily mean you're healthy. You can still weigh the same as a healthy person but still be relatively unhealthy overall but exercising helps with that

  28. I went from 175 to 135 by giving up meat, bread, pasta and cheese and running a couple miles every other day. I think it would have taken much longer without the running.

  29. Something to consider for dramatic weight loss would be loose skin and in order to tighten that you'd need to work out, right?

  30. I love in America home of the Popeyes Chicken Sandwich craze how am I not supposed to overeat. At least I know my lack of exercise isn’t the problem now. Thanks Vox!

  31. No exercise but good diet is way way better than exercise but bad diet. Just remember that diet plays a huge role. Not saying exercise is useless. But diet is just more effective. Even if you don’t go to the gym but eat healthy. It’s still more effective. Don’t get me wrong exercise is important too. And going to the gym isn’t a bad idea. But you can’t rely on that only. Also just because you don’t go to the gym that does not mean you are not exercising. Getting up to use the washroom, groceries shopping, climbing up the stairs, going out with friends for dinner, commute to work, traveling, and etc…. All those still consider exercising. Unless you decide to sit on a couch all day and not move at all.

  32. Medication makes you eat biscuits and pizza. I do low intensity cardio and the way to lose weight is simply eat salad and fruit. But that can be very expensive

  33. This video gets a few things wrong.
    1) 30% is not insignificant
    2) You can increase you RMHR (Resting Metabolic Heart Rate) though exercise, so you do have some control over that.

    The video does get the diet part right, to lose weight one does need to eat less and healthy

  34. Look at the Japanese diet, implement that kind of food in the U.S. more and we will likely stay slim like them.

  35. Exercise is good for your cardiovascular health and your fitness but not so much for your weight. You must change your diet for that, obviously.

  36. Nice info, I have try it, and I'm also so greatful I found @t, it helped me not only lose weight but keep it off, hope it helps some others!

  37. At 72, I have managed to keep my weight on the low side of normal. My secret is this – when you eat, start with a low calorie soup or salad. Then eat a generous portion of steamed veggies – no butter. Then have your meat and carbs. The soup and veggies fill you up so that by the time you get to the higher calorie foods, you are not starving. Any snack between meals are nuts, fruit and sometimes a few chips or a modest portion of sweets. I LIMIT carbs (except veggies) and sugar. And I try to get adequate exercise through walking, housekeeping and yard work. My diet is extremely healthy, but I do cheat on occasion because if you cannot have something to look forward to, then why live longer? After dinner, I brush my teeth and no solid foods till breakfast. Beverages allowed only after the teeth are brushed. It sounds extreme but slowly break yourself into a similar schedule. Believe me, it is worth it in more ways than most people know.

  38. Exercise alone after my pregnancy is how I lost a lot of weight. I weighed 180 lbs post partum and after 8 months I lost up to 30 lbs. However my diet was horrible, I still ate garbage food. So I switched my diet to healthy cleaner meals while still exercising and lost another 20 lbs in four months. So my point here is that exercise definitely makes you lose weight, even if you eat terrible. It just won’t go down as fast unless you eat healthier.

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