Clarifying The Public Health Message
Ultimately, the researchers stress, it is important for consumers to know where their calories come from. Lean proteins, whole grains, and vegetables are preferable calorie sources to simple carbohydrates and refined sugars.
They’re not the only ones calling for a more nuanced understanding of calorie consumption and exercise. In an article from the International Journal of Epidemiology, two other researchers clarify that “physical activity does not influence obesity risk”(3):
“Over the past 3 decades the obesity epidemic has spread inexorably across societies in all parts of the globe… Recent work by nutrition scientists and economists has led to the formulation of an increasingly sophisticated explanatory model of this latest scourge – based on solid data – which is firmly rooted in traditional public health theory: ‘Changes in the global food system, including reductions in the time-cost of food, seem to be the major drivers of the rise of the global obesity epidemic during the past 3-4 decades’.”
Cut The Carbs
Recent research backs up their call for more public health campaigns focusing on diet rather than exercise: a recent study in the journal Nutrition states that dietary carbohydrate restriction should be the primary fundamental approach in the prevention of type 2 diabetes(4).
Other researchers suggest that when it comes to athletes, fat loading instead of carbohydrate loading prior to exercise may be better for you(5).
The message is clear: while there are many health benefits to exercise, relying on it for obesity and diabetes prevention without any dietary changes is just not effective.