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6 Reasons Why Diet Is More Important Than Exercising For Weight Loss

6 Reasons Why Diet Is More Important Than Exercising For Weight Loss

For years now, exercise and physical exertion has been championed as the most effective vehicle for driving pronounced weight loss. While a viable exercise regime is certainly important and also capable of boosting productivity and easing stress, it is actually your diet that drives sustained weight loss.

If you are not convinced, here are the main reasons why diet is more important than exercise, along with some steps you can take to benefit from this.

1. Exercise alone cannot drive significant weight loss

Studies have proven that exercise alone cannot drive significant weight loss, primarily because the majority of us unknowingly compensate for the calories that we burn by being more physically active. Whether this is in the form of excess snacking or grab-and-go food choices, our subconscious eating habits can easily counteract the benefits of even the most strenuous daily exercise regime.

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To negate this, commit to keeping a food diary that lists every single calorie that you consume (along with the intake of sugar and saturated fat). This will make your food choices abundantly clear and highlight any areas for immediate improvement.

2. Exercise increases your appetite

We have already touched on how regular exercise can trigger subconscious eating habits, and this is based on research which suggests that physical exertion actively increases your appetite and metabolism. Such studies have confirmed that those who adhere to rigid exercise regimes also tend to increase their calorie intake simultaneously, gradually negating the impact of their workouts over time.

To avoid this, restrict your diet at the start of your weight loss drive in a bid to optimize the impact of your exercise. Remember that feeling hungry is an inevitable side effect of losing weight and changing your dietary habits, so keep this in mind at all times. Then, you should only consider increasing your calorie intake as you increase the frequency or intensity of your workouts, while also regulating your snacks and meals throughout the course of an average day.

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3. An increase in physical activity has not countered rising obesity levels

Between 2001 and 2009 in the US, the percentage of people who engaged in physical activity increased noticeably. This did not prevent the rise of obesity among US adults during the same period, however, which confirms that exercise is not enough to prevent weight gain or the onset of chronic dietary conditions.

This is a difficult challenge to circumvent, but it can be achieved by reviewing the nutritional values of every meal and snack that you consume. This will help you to regulate the amount of saturated fat and sugar that you eat on a regular basis, improving your overall health and optimizing the impact of any exercise that you undertake.

4. Food is the fuel source that drives exercise

Many people misunderstand the relationship that exists between food and exercise, but the fact remains that the former is an underlying fuel source that drives the latter. Without the right caloric intake, energy, and nutrients in your body, it is impossible to exercise effectively and achieve the weight loss that you desire.

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You can benefit from these dynamics by ensuring that you fuel your body with the right foods to optimize your energy levels. Bananas and lean white meats are both excellent sources of natural energy, for example, and their consumption can help you to achieve your fitness goals and lose weight consistently.

5. Short-term weight loss is also driven by diet

We have focused on long-term results so far, but we live in an age where technological advancements and the pace of modern life have made us increasingly impatient. This drives the need for short-term results too, but even then diet is the most influential factor in driving rapid weight loss.

Experts estimate that weight loss generally consists of 75% diet and 25% exercise, while the former also holds the key to your efforts. Analysis of more than 700 weight loss studies underlined this, revealing that the majority of people saw the most obvious short-term results through eating smart and dieting. Keep this in mind when losing weight, as you initially focus on shedding excess calories before you consider undertaking cardiovascular exercise and toning regimes.

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6. The mechanics of weight loss restrict the effectiveness of exercise

On a similar note, it is also important to note that the mechanics of weight loss restrict the effectiveness of exercise as a standalone endeavor. The American Dietetic Association confirms this, highlighting that it is almost impossible for overweight people to produce the required energy deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories per day without managing and reducing what they eat.

This is a fundamental rule of weight loss, so knowing this will save you time and help you to achieve your goals quicker. It should help to guide you when it comes to setting these goals in the first place, as you look to reduce your calorie intake responsibly and in a way that will reduce your weight both quickly and over time.

Featured photo credit: Anna Verdina / Flickr via flickr.com

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Last Updated on August 12, 2019

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark Chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

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Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko Biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

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However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and Black Tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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