Diet or Exercise for Weight Loss, Which is Better?

Diet or Exercise, Which is Better?

For decades, we’ve been told by the ‘experts’ that the best way to lose weight is to simply eat less and exercise more. But anyone who’s tried to lose weight this way faces a daunting task: have enough willpower to start a restrictive diet AND begin a regular, usually strenuous workout schedule.
Unfortunately for most of us, this method usually ends in failure, if we even start at all. Yet despite it’s dismal success rate, the myth of extreme dieting and exercise continues.

But can you really get away with one without the other and still reach your weight loss goal? In this post, we’ll see what leading edge health experts are saying, and find out which is really better: diet or exercise for weight loss?

First – What’s Making Us Fat in the First Place?

Over the years, we’ve heard lots of theories about what makes us gain weight:

  • You eat too many calories – No, you don’t eat enough calories, your body thinks you’re starving!
  • You eat too much fat – No, you eat too much saturated fat, eat more unsaturated fat!
  • You eat too much bread and pasta – No, whole grain bread and pasta are good!
  • You need to exercise vigorously 3 times a week – No, exercise moderately 5 times a week!
  • Do more cardio – No, you need to lift weights to build more muscle, muscle burns more calories!

Despite all this advice, we are fatter and sicker than ever. Let’s take a closer look at exercise first.

No Pain, No Gain

Since the 1950s, the US government has promoted the importance of exercise in response to the increasing incidence of heart disease. In the 70s, Jim Fixx’s bestselling book “The Complete Book of Running” launched a worldwide movement and the running shoe industry is still booming today.

The health club and aerobics class trend followed in the 80s and from Jane Fonda to Richard Simmons, everyone was doing it. In fact, statistics show that from 1978 to 2008, exercise increased worldwide.

Despite popular belief, Americans actually exercised the most at 135 average days per year compared to the worldwide average of 122 days.

Does that mean that all this increased exercise translated to lower obesity rates? Uh, no…in fact, the countries with the lowest exercise rates in some cases, had a third the obesity rates of America. So what gives?

Some experts, such as Dr Jason Fung, MD, author of “The Obesity Code, Unlocking the Secrets of Weight Loss”, believe that although exercise has many other health benefits, whether you exercise or not has no real effect on obesity.

He believes that exercise plays about a 5% role in weight loss compared to diet at 95%. As a nephrologist, Dr Fung treats patients with kidney failure, an advanced Type 2 diabetes complication. The real culprit in weight gain he says, is hormone imbalance namely, insulin.

Feel The Burn

Yet another expert, cardiologist Dr Rob Thompson, MD says something a little different. In his latest book “The Insulin Resistance Solution, Reverse Pre-Diabetes“, Thompson agrees that the problem is an imbalance of the hormone insulin and that the focus should be on diet, but also stresses the importance of exercising using our “slow-twitch” muscles.
Your body uses insulin to transport blood sugar (glucose) out of the bloodstream to be either utilized by muscle as energy or stored as fat. Without enough regular exercise, the muscles can become unresponsive to insulin, but just a few minutes of walking activates the slow twitch muscle fibers and they start utilizing the excess insulin.

According to Thompson, if you walk for just 30 minutes, the responsiveness lasts up to 48 hours after exercise, and its effect on insulin is faster than diet and medication. The best news may be that walking is easy for just about everyone, and because it’s easy and relatively convenient, we’re more likely to do it consistently.

Either way, the general consensus between most doctors at the cutting edge of today’s nutrition agree that diet is the main factor in the rising rate of people who are overweight or obese.

America is experiencing an epidemic of insulin resistance as approximately one third of the population has it by the age of forty. Left untreated (preferably by diet and exercise), it can lead to Type 2 diabetes, hypertension and a host of other deadly conditions.

The Simplest and Most Effective Way to Lose Weight

Both of our doctor experts know that the key to weight loss isn’t cutting calories or hitting the gym for 5 hours a week, it’s about stopping the glucose spikes that cause our insulin levels to rise. Long term elevated insulin levels can actually cause the body to become resistant to it, making it hard to lower blood sugar levels leading to fat storage (especially belly fat) and Type 2 diabetes.

What causes our blood sugar to spike? Along with sugary soft drinks and fruit juice, the main culprit is starchy carbs. Grains and grain products like bread and pasta, along with rice and corn products have 3 times the glucose molecules as common table sugar and cause your insulin levels to spike dramatically.Diet or Exercise, Which is Better?

Unfortunately, these products make up the bulk of the American diet thanks to decades of dietary recommendations from our government, mainstream medical, the food industry and the compliant media, mainly “health” magazines.

Just by eliminating these products, many people have not only lost weight (without deprivation), but have reversed insulin resistance and prevented Type 2 diabetes from devastating their lives.

It’s not just about cutting the starch, you also need to increase the levels of fat that you eat. When you cut your starchy carbs, your body will begin to utilize fat (both stored and eaten) as it’s main energy source. When this happens, you stop having food cravings and feel satisfied longer.

It may be the hardest thing to wrap your head around but it’s true – eating more fat, moderate protein and low carb is the simplest, most effective way to lose weight – without feeling hungry or deprived, ever. People who eat this way (including me) say now that they know the secret, they never have to worry about weight gain ever again.

Forget about cutting out all delicious foods, you just have to get rid of the cheap, starchy filler foods that cause the blood sugar spikes that eventually cause weight gain and disease. Add creamy, flavorful fats and 30 minutes of walking at least every other day, and you’re on your way to permanent weight loss.

To learn more about how insulin effects weight, click here

To Your Success,


We are not doctors. This site offers health, fitness and nutritional information and is designed for educational purposes only. This information is not a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Any concerns or questions about your health should be discussed with a physician or other health-care professional.

 Do not disregard, avoid or delay obtaining medical or health related advice from your health-care professional based on information provided on this site. The use of any information provided on this site is solely at your own risk.




1 thought on “Diet or Exercise for Weight Loss, Which is Better?”

  1. Karyn,
    Your article is laid out very well and I like the method you used. By breaking down each “theory” and analyzing the results Americans experience applying those methods, everything speaks for itself. The low-carb diet plan is much easier for people to understand, and hopefully, apply.

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