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If you’ve ever tried to shed a few pounds, there’s a good chance you’ve thought about this question before – What works best, a diet plan or exercise? Spoiler alert, it’s both. A combination of the two produce the best results.

That’s not going to come as a big shock to most, but what is surprising are some interesting findings that came out of a 2014 study from the University of Missouri that examined real-life experiences of participants to determine which program helps people lose pounds and gain health benefits.

When just dieting, people lost lean tissue, not fat.

Participants who attended Weight Watchers for 12 weeks lost an average of 5 percent of their body weight, or about nine pounds. The problem is, that loss came from lean tissue and water. Why is lean tissue important? First and foremost, lean tissue is defined as muscle and bone – not exactly what we set out to loose. Second, it’s advantageous to keep lean tissue because it’s connected with higher metabolism. In other words, losing lean tissue often slows metabolism.

Gym goers lost very little weight but got healthier.

Participants who attended a gym while sticking with the same diet lost very little weight but improved their health because they lost a significant amount of abdominal fat (or visceral fat). Don’t let the name fool you, abdominal fat is not the kind of fat you can grasp with your hand. It lies out of reach, deep within the abdominal cavity, where it pads the spaces between our abdominal organs. It can cause cardiovascular disease and/or type 2 diabetes. These results imply that exercise may have positive influence your health despite what the scale says.

Don’t half ass it. Do both.

Bottom line, it’s important to exercise and eat healthier food at the same time. A combination of diet and exercise will help boost your lean body tissue as you lose the fat weight.



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