Dr Michael Mosley often shares his weight loss tips with slimmers online as well as on television. Although he encourages people to do exercise, Dr Mosley said healthy eating is even more important in order to shed the pounds.
There are many myths surrounding weight loss, but one of the “most persistent” is to do with exercise, according to Dr Mosley.
The nutrition expert said: “Let’s get one of the most persistent myths out of the way first – that exercise is a good way to burn calories.
“This is one of the oldest and saddest myths around. Sad because it isn’t true.
“The problem is that thanks to our evolutionary past, when food was scarce and our ancestors were active, our bodies are incredibly efficient at doing things like walking or running.”
Because humans’ bodies were literally born to run, Dr Mosley said “you have to do a lot to burn even a small number of calories”.
This isn’t to say people shouldn’t do any exercise at all, the doctor stressed, but slimmers should be aware that eating the right food is more beneficial for weight loss.
Dr Mosley continued: “A while back I went to Loughborough University to find out just how many calories I burn while running.
“I wore special monitoring equipment and set off at a brisk pace round the track. I wasn’t exactly threatening any Olympic records, but I was going fast enough to feel relieved when, after 10 minutes, I was told I could stop.
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“It turns out I had consumed around 16 calories a minute, which meant that having run just over a mile I had burnt through a grand total of 160 calories. Not bad, I thought.
“But put it in perspective. A small bar of chocolate contains about 240 calories, while a chocolate muffin comes in around 500 calories.
“So, if you decide to have a muffin and a medium latte – 150 calories – after your run, then you are topping yourself up with 650 calories.”
Dr Mosley added: “So, whilst exercising is a great way to stay healthy and fit, it shouldn’t be substituted for healthy eating – they need to go hand in hand.
“So, regular exercise may just bolster your immune system on top of its more obvious benefits of fitness and strength.”
As for following a healthy diet plan, Dr Mosley recommended The Fast 800, a plan he created which involves eating just 800 calories a day to help reduce body fat.
This diet includes Mediterranean, low carb ingredients such as oily fish, fresh vegetables, whole grains, lentils, beans, nuts, seeds, spices and olive oil.
“The Mediterranean diet is widely seen as the healthiest, most nutrient rich diet on the planet,” Dr Mosley said.