Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Can You Outrun an Unhealthy Diet?

By Australian Science Media Centre

An editorial in the British Journal of Sports Medicine has blamed excess sugar and carbohydrates, and not a lack of exercise, behind the surge in obesity.


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“It is a complete myth that sugar and carbohydrate alone are solely responsible for obesity. Australians eat over 30% of excess kilojoules from indulgence foods. Some may be high in sugar and carbohydrate, but many may also be high in fat and salt.

“Eating for good health and well-being will not be achieved by focussing on avoidance of one nutrient. The failure of low-fat foods will be repeated with low sugar and carbohydrate foods unless we focus on balanced nutrition. Exercise has many benefits, but particularly for weight loss maintenance rather than weight loss.”

Professor Manny Noakes is the Research Director for Nutrition and Health at CSIRO.


“The authors correctly highlight that regular exercise participation has many associated benefits that include reducing the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, dementia and some cancers. For these and a growing list of other reasons it is, and should continue to be, strongly endorsed. Nevertheless, as a tool for actually reducing bodyweight exercise is a reasonably inefficient method. Rather, for most people the key mediator of weight loss is caloric intake.

“The role of exercise in prevention of weight gain may perhaps be more substantial; one of the most common characteristics of people that have maintained a weight loss long-term is that they...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.