AUG 07, 2017 4:00 PM PDT

How Long Does It Take to Burn Off Junk Food Calories?

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

On some level, we intuitively know that calories in is much easier than calories out. That is, we can easily consume 400 calories worth of pizza in mere minutes, but to burn the same amount of calories would take hours of strenuous, focused exercise. But then, why is exercise at the forefront of all weight loss regimens? New scientific data say this is a fallacy and to stop emphasizing physical activity as a weight loss tool.

To be sure, the health benefits of exercise are tremendous - aside from not smoking, scientists deem exercise as the best thing you can do to be healthy. But there's a distinction between health benefits and weight loss, and exercise is not an effective way to lose weight.

Consider that we have three main ways to burn calories: resting metabolism, food breakdown, physical activity. Of this, exercise accounts for 10-30 percent of energy breakdown. Thus, while we control 100 percent of our calorie intake as food, we only have 30 percent control of the calories going out as exercise.

Of course it's not impossible to lose weight with exercise, but the new data say that we should reconsider emphasizing nutrition and diet over exercise when it comes to achieving weight loss goals. If 100 percent of our calorie intake is within our control, it makes sense that what we choose to eat plays far more importance on weight loss than exercise.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
JUL 14, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Thermoluminescence Dating: How Heating Ancient Pots Can Help Determining Their Age
JUL 14, 2020
Thermoluminescence Dating: How Heating Ancient Pots Can Help Determining Their Age
Radiometric dating is an effective method for determining the age of the material, whether a mineral or a piece of organ ...
JUL 22, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Scientists Obtained Clues on the Mysteriously Fast Movement of Earth's Magnetic Poles
JUL 22, 2020
Scientists Obtained Clues on the Mysteriously Fast Movement of Earth's Magnetic Poles
Earth's magnetic poles have been on a hasty move in the last two decades. Recently, the geoscientists at Leeds Unive ...
JUL 27, 2020
Neuroscience
Bigger Brains Linked to More Manual Dexterity in Apes
JUL 27, 2020
Bigger Brains Linked to More Manual Dexterity in Apes
Although people are very skilled at using their hands, they take a long time to master how to use them. Meanwhile, for m ...
SEP 10, 2020
Plants & Animals
Scientists Document Swimming Styles of Sea Butterflies
SEP 10, 2020
Scientists Document Swimming Styles of Sea Butterflies
Snails, marine and terrestrial, are likely primarily imagined to be attached to a substrate. However, under the waves, t ...
OCT 09, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Ultra-hot Exoplanet Vaporizes Iron in its Atmosphere
OCT 09, 2020
Ultra-hot Exoplanet Vaporizes Iron in its Atmosphere
Researchers from the University of Bern in Germany have found that an exoplanet, known as WASP-121b, is so hot that it c ...
NOV 05, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
No, Gravity Doesn't Affect How Bubbles Collapse
NOV 05, 2020
No, Gravity Doesn't Affect How Bubbles Collapse
The ubiquitous presence of bubbles makes them a common phenomenon, but interestingly our understanding of this globular ...
Loading Comments...