Weight loss studies to answer some common questions!

weight loss
Weight loss studies

By: Sarah Pittman BS, Graduate Student in Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Illinois


Question: How does exercising while fasting impact weight loss?

Answer:  Feeding influences adipose tissue responses to exercise in overweight men, is a study conducted in 2017 by the University of Bath in the UK.  This study found that overweight men who exercised in a fasting state did lose more adipose tissue. Still, it did not result in more weight loss than the men who exercised in the fed state1. Another small study conducted in the UK found that in 30 obese men who exercised before breakfast burned twice the fat as men who ate breakfast before they worked out. This increased fat burning is due to the body being forced to use stored carbohydrates as the body’s fuel sources.  Once those storages are gone, the body then turns to the fat cells.  In this study, the two groups lost similar amounts of weight2.

Question: What is the best diet to follow for weight loss?

Answer:  The best diet depends on the person.  The Mediterranean diet and DASH diet are great options for a healthy lifestyle and weight loss. The Mediterranean diet focuses on healthy fats, including avocados, olive oil, fish, and nuts, as well as plenty of beans, fruit, vegetables, and whole grains.3 It does suggest limiting red meat to once or twice a week.3 Studies have found that following a diet or a lower-carb version of the diet can result in a weight loss of about 5-10% of body weight in 12 months. The DASH diet, originally designed to reduce sodium intake to help control blood pressure, but recently it has been used as a weight loss and overall healthy living diet. The DASH diet, similarly to the Mediterranean diet focuses on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat/non-fat dairy and limited saturated fat and dietary cholesterol.3 With both of these diets, following the diet with a deficit in calories can result in weight loss.

Question: Should you weigh yourself every day?

Answer: Registered Dietitian and author, Bonnie Taub-Dix suggests that weighing yourself every day is not necessary to losing weight. She says not to give more power to the scale than it deserves4. “Some people find it comforting to weigh themselves daily.  For other people the scale brings angst. The latter group shouldn’t weigh themselves at all. The key is knowing yourself and which tools will help you find success”, says Taub-Dix.4

  1. https://www.physiology.org/doi/pdf/10.1152/ajpendo.00006.2017
  2. https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/18/health/exercise-breakfast-fat-burn-wellness/index.html
  3. https://www.prevention.com/weight-loss/diets/g29462611/best-diets-weight-loss/
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