Everyone is looking for a cure to end the obesity epidemic, and the conclusion of a new study performed by Loyola University Health System indicates our attempts might be off the mark. They found that diet alone, rather than coupled with physical activity, was key to maintaining a healthy weight.
The study compared women from Chicago, weighing on average 185 pounds, with women from Nigeria, weighing on average 127 pounds. While there was no difference in the amount of calories burned during physical activity between the two groups, there was a significant difference in diet. The Nigerian women ate a diet high in fiber and carbs, but low in fat and animal protein. The women from the Windy City ate a diet that was not only high in processed food (read low fiber) but with 40 to 45 percent of their calories coming from fat. This is high since the recommended percentage of calories coming from fat is 25 to 35 percent.
These findings contradict findings from a recent study performed on an older Amish population, where physical activity was shown to offset a genetic predisposition for obesity. Obviously, more research needs to be done on this matter. I do think it serves as a friendly reminder, especially if you're trying to lose weight, that exercising regularly does not entitle you to eat whatever you want.