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Lose Weight: Study Reveals a Sad Truth About Exercise and Calories

Whether jogging, cycling or sweating in the gym - more than half of Germans do sports two to three days a week. The motivation behind it is varied: More muscles, better endurance, a healthier heart and many also want to lose weight with this method.

At least for the first three points, the more sport, the better. However, more exercise does not necessarily reduce weight in the long run. At least that is what scientists from the City University of New York claim in an article that appeared in the journal Current Biology in 2016.

Instead of losing weight: the body adjusts to increased calorie requirements

On the basis of a study on more than 300 test persons, the team led by Professor Herman Pontzer found that the body adapts to an increased need for calories and thus works more efficiently. The researchers first became aware of this when studying the eating habits and calorie consumption of the Hadza, an ethnic group from northern Tanzania.

Traditionally they are often on the hunt and do heavy physical work. The Hadza should therefore have a significantly higher energy requirement than people in the western world. In fact, their energy needs are not that different from those of Europeans or Americans.

As part of their study, Pontzer and his colleagues found that energy consumption is not directly linked to physical activity. So you don't burn double the amount of calories by doing twice the amount of exercise. So nothing to do with exercise and weight loss?

Physically active people do not consume more calories

In fact, the energy consumption seems to be saturated: physically active people consume as many calories as people who are not really active in sports. The researchers suspect that the body tries to keep the nutritional requirements in a certain range by increasing the efficiency of its energy utilization, even under high physical strain.

Also read: "Personal trainer: you only have to know these three rules in order to lose weight successfully"

However, Pontzer does not question that physical activity is healthy: “Exercise is extremely important for your health. That is the first thing I answer when asked what impact the study has on the importance of physical activity. ”His work does not change that. It is only time to reject the assumption that more physical activity also means higher calorie consumption.