According to international specialists, physical activity has little role in tackling obesity and instead public health messages should squarely focus on unhealthy eating.
In an article in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, three experts said it was time to “bust the myth” about exercise.
They said while exercising was a key part of staving off diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and dementia, its impact on obesity was minimal.
Instead excess sugar and carbohydrates were key.
The experts blamed the food industry for encouraging the belief that exercise could counteract the impact of unhealthy eating.
They even likened their tactics as “chillingly similar” to those of Big Tobacco on smoking and said celebratory endorsements of sugary drinks and the association of junk food and sport must end.
The experts said there was evidence that up to 40% of those within a normal weight range will still harbor harmful metabolic abnormalities typically associated with obesity.
Despite this public health messaging had “unhelpfully” focused on maintaining a healthy weight through calorie counting when it was the source of calories that mattered most – research has shown that diabetes increases 11-fold for every 150 additional sugar calories consumed compared to fat calories.
The experts pointed to evidence from the Lancet global burden of disease program which shows that unhealthy eating was linked to more ill health than physical activity, alcohol and smoking combined.
New research has uncovered simple ways to trim 100 calories or more from your diet without skimping on flavor. While it doesn’t sound like much, shaving off 100 calories a day could help you trim 10 lbs or more in a year even if you never set foot in the gym.
Wet your whistle
You’re more likely to crave veggies than greasy French fries, chips, or other high-fat foods if you pair a meal with water instead of caloric beverages. Researchers at the University of Oregon say that food-drink pairings can influence the type of food choices we make and the amount of calories we eat. In the study, adults who paired a meal with water were more likely to eat their vegetables and make other healthy food choices than if they sipped on soda.
Stop staring at sugar
To help you keep sugar cravings in check, a recent study says you should look the other way when you see pictures of high-fat, high-calorie, or sugary foods. That’s because brain scans have shown that ogling pictures of high-calorie treats stimulates parts of the brain that control hunger and the reward center, says Kathleen Page, MD, assistant professor of medicine at USC and the study’s lead author. Bottom line: maybe your Pinterest board of cupcakes isn’t the best idea.
Several studies say you could wind up hungrier than if you were bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. One study from the Mayo Clinic shows getting less than 6 ½ hours of sleep a night can lead to consuming as many as 500 excess calories in a day.
Being sleep deprived can increase how hungry you feel and lead to downing more calories than you’d eat if you weren’t exhausted, says Manfred Hallschmid, PhD, department of medical psychology and behavioral neurobiology, University of Tübingen and lead researcher of a separate study on sleep and calorie consumption.
“Sleep deprivation can raise levels of appetite hormones like ghrelin,” he says.
Surging levels of ghrelin, the hormone that revs up your appetite, can lead to eating hundreds of extra calories than when you’re well-rested, according to Dr. Manfred Hallschmid.
Dim the lights
A recent study from Cornell University says the secret to eating less – and feeling more satisfied with what you do eat – could be as simple as some mood lighting. People who ate a meal under soft, warm lighting consumed 175 fewer calories, and finished 18% less of the food on their plates, than those who dined in brightly lit places.
Those in the darker rooms also rated food as more enjoyable than the other group. Scientists think that’s because the harsh fluorescent lights commonly found in fast-food restaurants may create a psychological need to rush through meals and eat more. Consider this your chance to actually use those candlesticks you got for your wedding ages ago.
Don’t say: I can’t
Whether you’re trying to sidestep a fast-food drive-thru or the office doughnuts, don’t tell yourself what you can’t eat. Instead, tell yourself you “don’t” eat it. In a recent study, when researchers divided a group of people into “can’t eats” and “don’t eats,” 64% of those in the “don’t” group passed up a candy bar in favor of a healthier granola bar – but only 30% of the “can’t” group chose the healthier snack. “Can’t” sounds more like punishment than being healthy, creating a sense of self-deprivation that can tank your motivation. On the other hand, reminding yourself you “don’t” eat certain foods feels more empowering.Think thin The way you think about food and your body can determine your success at sticking to a healthy diet. Over a 10-year span, 59% of women who started out with an average body mass index (BMI) of 20 but thought they were overweight, wound up packing on weight and watching their BMI swell to more than 25. That weight gain likely happened because of a self-fulfilling prophecy, says Susan Albers, psychologist at The Cleveland Clinic and the author of Eating Mindfully and 50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food.
“Your mindset is incredibly important in giving up or getting on track with your weight,” she says.
“So if you think you are not overweight, regardless of your actual weight, you will act in ways that lead you to what you already believe.”
Be a straight shooter
They might look stylish, but swanky, curved drinking glasses on your table could lead to extra weight. A British study found that people consumed 60% more alcohol, sugary sodas, and juices if the glass they drank from was curvy, rather than a straight tumbler. The researchers speculate that people drink faster from the curvy glasses because it’s harder to tell when you’re at the halfway point, meaning you’re more likely to reach for another drink sooner and end up consuming more.
According to an Australian study, lack of exercise is the biggest risk factor for heart disease in women aged 30 and above.
If all over-30s followed recommended guidelines on exercise, nearly 3,000 lives could be saved each year in Australia alone, say researchers.
Lack of exercise is the biggest risk factor for heart disease in women aged 30 and above
More needs to be done to warn women of inactivity, as it outweighs other risk factors such as obesity, they say.
A team at the University of Queensland, Australia tracked the health of more than 30,000 women born in the 1920s, 1940s and 1970s.
They found smoking had the greatest impact on women’s heart disease risk below the age of 30.
However, as women got older and more gave up smoking, it was overtaken by physical inactivity as the dominant influence on heart disease risk.
Continuing efforts to encourage people to stop smoking were warranted, the researchers reported in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
But they said greater effort were needed to promote exercise, which they describe as a “Cinderella” risk factor compared with obesity.
Spinning is one of those evergreen gym classes that has stood the test of time, with other routines disappearing out of fashion spinning classes in London are as popular as ever and it is easy to see why. We all have goals and are looking to meet these with the results from our training, spinning is one of those programmes that after just three classes per week, each lasting between 30 minutes and an hour you will start seeing results in record time.
A class will typically burn around 300 calories, up to 800 for the longer classes and this will melt away the pounds and of course as you see the class is working you will want to keep going again and again. Who knew losing fat could be so fun?
The lower body is considered to be a trouble zone for many women and cycling can address these. Although it is not possible to target your fat burn to your legs, working the large muscles such as the hamstrings will tone up, improving the overall appearance.
You may think that a spinning class will only work out your leg muscles but, this is wrong, they aren’t the only muscle group that enjoys the benefits of spinning! With an experienced instructor you will be taught the correct posture to use whilst spinning, as well as combining this with side to side movements which will work to improve your core strength and as a result, once your body fat percentage is low enough you will have abs on display!
Of course, spinning isn’t easy, especially being on a static bike for a prolonged period of time and although the music and constant changes in music, speed and resistance will keep you on your toes it can still be a mentally tough workout to get through. The benefit of this is the increased mental endurance, strength and self confidence which develops from this.
Improving your strength and endurance during a spinning class may lead you to become more confident with cycling out of the gym and onto the roads. London cycling offers a whole new array of benefits on top of those enjoyed by spinning such as increased cardiovascular health, increased productivity, confidence and of course weight loss.
A new research suggests that doing at least two and a half hours of vigorous exercise each week cuts the chance of developing flu.
Around 4,800 people took part in this year’s online Flu Survey, run by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Moderate exercise did not appear to have a protective effect, the researchers said.
Overall, flu rates have been relatively low this winter.
Doing at least two and a half hours of vigorous exercise each week cuts the chance of developing flu
One of the questions people must answer when they register, as well as their age, if they are around children and if they have been vaccinated, is how many hours of “vigorous exercise” they do each week, such as running, fast cycling or competitive sports, ranging from none to more than five hours.
They are then asked to log in each week and note how they are feeling, and whether or not they have any flu-like symptoms.
The research findings suggest 100 cases of flu per 1,000 people could be prevented just by engaging in vigorous exercise.
Researchers also said this year’s survey found some of the lowest reports of flu-like illness in recent years.
Over the winter flu season, only 4.7% of reports were positive for flu-like symptoms compared with 6% last year.
Children also appear to have had lower levels of flu-like illness than last year with just 5% reporting symptoms this flu season compared with 7.9% last year.