The results are not as straightforward as you might think.
“When participating in exercise programs for weight loss, most people lose a little weight, some lose a lot, but some losers do gain weight.” said John Speakman, chair of the DLW Database Management Group and co-author of the study.
According to the study, in people with a normal body mass index between 18.5 and 24.9, the body compensates for the calories burned during exercise by 28 percent, that is, only 72 percent of the calories will be lost during the day.
However, this ratio falls with age and weight, and people with the highest BMI only lose 51 percent of the calories burned during exercise.
Research confirms that people differ in how their bodies distribute energy intake, and obese people may find it difficult to lose weight because their bodies effectively store their fat stores.
© UNHCR / Benjamin Loiso
More than just exercise
“There are many health benefits to be gained by being more active and exercising, but relying on exercise alone will not help you lose weight.“Said Alexia Alford, nutritionist and IAEA co-author.
Weight loss recommendations do not take into account the reduction in calories burned from other normal life functions, as the body compensates for the calories burned during exercise.
“If you increase your activity, your body will compensate for it in other areas and reduce the number of calories it burns while breathing, digesting, fidgeting and generally to maintain and function the body,” she explained. “Actually, it can add up quite a lot.”
Combining a healthy diet with a more balanced lifestyle is key. maintaining a calorie deficit for weight loss, according to a co-author.
The use of DLW to study the total energy expenditure of the body is not new, but the high cost of oxygen-18 and the equipment to measure it so far limits the scope of research.
In 2018, the IAEA was approached by a group of DLW researchers who wanted to make their datasets more accessible, and IAEA DLW Database was developed.
Today, the database contains DLW data from over 7,600 people, making it the world’s largest collection.
Free and available to researchers asking Management Approved Questions, IAEA DLW database contains information on various casesfrom athletes to cancer patients and people with cerebral palsy.
Since most of the data comes from studies in Western countries such as the United States and the Netherlands, the IAEA aims to expand the dataset to include Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Next year, he will start a coordinated research project to add more data for low-income countries.
“Our database is an invaluable asset for better understanding how the human body functions. This exercise is a great example; while most DLW studies typically involve about 30 people, the exercise study involved over 1600 people, making the data very reliable, ”said Ms. Alford.
“The data in the IAEA’s DLW database is an uncharted treasure trove, and we encourage researchers to contact us to access its content and contribute their own datasets.”