The idea of working off your food has been circulated through modern society, however how feasible is it to work off a bad diet? Unfortunately, for us working off a bad diet takes a lot of time and effort. For example to work off a 180g chocolate block (968 cal) it would take over 3 hours of walking and almost 2 hours running. Therefore it can be said that it is a lot easier to eat the calories than to burn them off.
Weight gain occurs when our energy input is higher than our energy output. Energy input includes the calories we eat and drink, whilst energy output includes our resting metabolic rate, the energy required to chew, digest, absorb and store food, as well as additional exercise. In order to increase our energy output exercise is the easiest factor to manipulate.
That being said exercise and nutrition are both important in weight management and living a healthy life. However it can be said that dietary choices play a much bigger role in determining overall weight changes, as when it comes to losing weight it is almost impossible to burn the calories you eat.
The nutrient composition of our food is also important. 100 calories of strawberries is a lot different to 100 calories of potato chips. The nutrient profile of the strawberries is much higher, containing numerous essential vitamins and minerals. Similarly the fibre content in the strawberries compared to potato chips assists weight loss by increasing our satiety, meaning that we stay fuller for longer.
Other nutritional components that play a role in weight loss include sugar, fat and alcohol. Sugar is processed in our body through secretion of insulin, however the presence of insulin in our body makes it difficult for our body to lose weight as insulin is primarily a storage hormone. Fat on the other hand affects weight loss due to its calorie dense nature. Fat contains 9 calories per gram, in comparison to carbohydrates and protein which account for 4 calories per gram. Therefore the higher the fat content the higher the calorie content. Similarly alcohol is 7 calories per gram consumed, therefore alcohol intake can increase our daily calorie intake significantly. Another concern with alcohol is the inability of our bodies to break down fat, protein and carbohydrate energy whilst consuming alcohol. Therefore when consuming alcohol we store anything eaten.
Therefore whilst exercise is essential in maintaining a healthy weight loss as well as generating weight loss, diet plays a much bigger role.
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