Posted on May 09, 2011, 6 a.m.
Eating a low-calorie, low-fat diet and taking regular exercise is more effective for weight loss than using either strategy on its own.
New research has confirmed what we all knew - combining a low-fat, low-calorie diet with regular exercise is far more effective for losing weight than dieting or exercising alone. Researchers randomly assigned 439 overweight-to-obese, sedentary, postmenopausal women, aged 50 to 75, to one of four groups: exercise only (45 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous aerobic exercise for five days each week); diet only (1,200-2,000 calories per day depending on starting weight, less than 30% of calories from fat); exercise and diet; no intervention (control group). Results of the year-long study showed that women in the exercise-only group lost, on average, 2.4% of their starting weight (with a mean weight loss of 4.4 pounds) as compared to an average weight loss of 8.5% among women in the diet-only group (with a mean weight loss of 15.8 pounds). The greatest weight loss was achieved by women in the exercise and diet group, with women in this group shedding an average of 10.8% of their starting weight (with a mean weight loss of 19.8 pounds). Two-thirds of the women in this group achieved the study goal of losing at least 10% of their starting weight. The study also revealed that the women who lost the most weight and body fat kept a food journal, in which they wrote down everything they ate and drank with the exception of water and no-calorie drinks.
Karen E. Foster-Schubert, Catherine M. Alfano, Catherine R. Duggan, Liren Xiao, Kristin L. Campbell, Angela Kong, Carolyn E. Bain, Ching-Yun Wang, George L. Blackburn, Anne McTiernan. Effect of diet and exercise, alone or combined, on weight and body composition in overweight-to-obese postmenopausal women. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2011 Apr 14. [Epub ahead of print]. DOI:10.1038/oby.2011.76.