Losing weight costs more because the body reacts to sport by saving calories

After the Christmas binge, many have started the year with the purpose of doing sports to lose weight. The bad news is that the exercise not enough for to lose weight, since the body compensates for that burning of calories by reducing energy consumption, reveals a study in which the UN nuclear agency participates.

“By increasing exercise, the body compensates for the calories burned by limiting the energy used in basic functions such as breathing or digestion,” explains Alexia Alford, one of the authors of the study and a nutritionist at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

That is, after Burn calories with the exercise, the body sets in motion a kind of mechanism of energy saving, which ends up reducing the weight loss effect of physical activity.

The job “Energy compensation and adiposity in humansrecently published in the scientific journal Current Biology, has reached this conclusion using two isotopes, one of hydrogen and one of oxygen, as “markers” to analyze the calories that a person burns during a day.

The researchers gave 1,754 people water with these two isotopes to drink and then analyzed their urine, their body characteristics and their basal metabolic rate, which acts as a counter for the energy expenditure of basic body functions, such as breathing.

Nearly 30 percent of calories not burned

By subtracting that basal expenditure from the body’s total energy consumption, the researchers identified how many calories were burned doing sports.

The bottom line is that people with a body mass index between 18.5 and 24.9, considered normal, that compensation is 28 percent, that is, only 72 of every 100 calories expended with the physical exercise are transformed into calories “burnt” and, therefore, in waste of weight.

The results are more discouraging for people with a higher body mass index, in the categories of overweight Y obesity, since this saving mechanism means that only half of the calories are lost.

“For every calorie that very obese people – with a body mass index of 35 or more – spend exercising, the compensation can be up to 50 percent,” says Alford.

The nutritionist also highlights that “not all individuals are the same in the way they use their energy.”

more difficult with age

For this reason, it is important to know how our metabolism in order to carry out an activity plan or a adapted diet to each person.

And it is that this system of energy compensation not only varies according to metabolism and weightbut also by age.

For example, after the age of 60, the metabolism slows down by 1 percent with each passing year, thereby consuming less energy and slim down with the sport it also becomes more difficult.

The research does not seek to discourage those who in this new year have proposed to lose weight or adopt a healthier lifestyle.

“The results do not suggest that exercise is ineffective, the physical activity it has many health benefits,” says Alford.

Among these benefits, the reduction in mortality due to diseases cardiovascular, cancers wave diabetes of type 2 incident, as well as an improvement of the mental health, cognitive and better work-life balance dream.

Balanced diet

Beyond exercise, Alford also advises reducing your intake of processed foods rich in fats and sugars, and increase the consumption of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and nuts.

In addition, the IAEA nutritionist also recommends No Smoking, reduce alcohol consumption and have one positive mental health.

“Losing weight in a healthy way consists of an ongoing lifestyle that includes long-term changes in both daily eating habits and physical activity,” he concludes.

With information from EFE

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