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Calorie counting

Many dieters try to lose weight by reducing calories rather than increasing exercise

Thursday, December 28, 2006 by: Jerome Douglas
Tags: calorie counting, physical exercise, dieting


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(NewsTarget) According to a new poll, many dieters count calories at the expense of exercising in order to lose weight. Only 59 percent of the 2,000 people surveyed in the recent study -- sponsored by pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) -- said that they realized exercise made a greater contribution to personal health that counting calories alone.

The study found that women count calories more than men do when trying to lose weight, as half of women dieters opt to count their food intake -- compared with only a third of men dieters.

With the array of low-calorie choices many consumers have these days, many are opting for just cutting back on food intake instead of trying to exercise.

A sports scientist who conducted the study said, "The trend of people swapping the gym for a low calorie meal is very worrying. Consuming fewer calories is no substitute for exercise. We cannot afford to become a nation of calorie-counting couch potatoes -- the benefits of leading active lives are enormous."

Charlene Shoneye, research dietician at Weight Concern, added "I'm not surprised by the results. A lot of people find the idea of going to the gym quite daunting and so reducing calorie intake seems to be an easier option. We promote physical activity as opposed to going to the gym per se. Things like taking the stairs instead of using the lift and walking when ever possible to increase your energy expenditure throughout the day. The recommendation is 60 minutes of activity a day. That can be done in smaller slots."

"You can't starve yourself to health and fitness," explained Mike Adams, a former prediabetic who is now a consumer health advocate. "Exercise is an essential ingredient in any health endeavor, including weight loss and disease prevention. Counting calories alone is a recipe for weight loss failure. Unless consumers take up the exercise habit and make it a part of their lives, they will never achieve the level of health and fitness they deserve."

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