Never fat again? The secret is more exercise
It is not easy to stay slim after losing a lot of pounds of excess fat. American researchers, affiliated with the de University of Colorado Anschutz, studied a group of former fat guys who had managed to do this - and discovered that the ex-fatties had started to exercise more. More physical activity might be 'the' way to stay slim after a successful fat loss attempt.
The researchers studied two dozen former overweight or obese men and women, who had lost at least 14 kilos a year or more ago and had succeeded in keeping their weight down. The researchers determined the particapants' energy expenditure with the labeled water method. This method is particularly reliable and accurate.
The researchers did the same with study participants who were just as fat as the weight loss maintainers had been at least a year ago, and with a group of study participants with a healthy weight.
The total daily energy expenditure of the fat people [OC] was larger than that of the slender people [NC]. That was because a body simply consumes more energy the larger it is. The weight loss maintainers [WNL] burned just as much energy as the fat people. By reducing their body weight, their resting energy consumption was reduced [REE], but these people had compensated for this by exercising more.
Click on the figure below for a larger version.
Being overweight makes the body use more energy. The study participants who had succeeded in becoming lean again had retained that increased energy consumption. In this respect they may have differed from the former fat persons who just get fat again after a slimming diet.
Perhaps this is the way to successfully slim down, this study suggests: don't put less energy into the body, but let the body consume more energy.
"This study addresses the difficult question of why so many people struggle to keep weight off over a long period," says first author Danielle Ostendorf in a press release. [eurekalert.org 29-Mar-2019] "By providing evidence that a group of successful weight-loss maintainers engages in high levels of physical activity to prevent weight regain - rather than chronically restricting their energy intake - is a step forward to clarifying the relationship between exercise and weight-loss maintenance."
"Our findings suggest that this group of successful weight-loss maintainers are consuming a similar number of calories per day as individuals with overweight and obesity, but appear to avoid weight regain by compensating for this with high levels of physical activity," adds research leader Victoria Catenacci.
Obesity (Silver Spring). 2019 Mar;27(3):496-504.
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