Dr Michael Mosley: Diet helps weight loss more than exercise – ‘leave that muffin alone!’

This Morning: Michael Mosley discusses 800 calorie diet

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Dr Michael Mosley is a TV presenter, journalist, and doctor with expert knowledge of biology and medicine. He spoke exclusively to Express.co.uk about the best ways to lose weight.

Dr Mosley explained that one of the “most persistent” myths surrounding weight loss is that “exercise is a good way to burn calories”.

He said: “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.

“You have to do a lot of either to burn even a small number of calories.”

Dr Mosley went on to give an example of why healthy eating is better for weight loss than exercise.

Recently, he visited Loughborough University for research and found that, while running, he can burn 160 calories per mile.

“Not bad, I thought,” Mr Mosley said.

However, he added: “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.”

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Mr Mosley continued: “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, go for that run, but leave the muffin alone.”

The doctor added that new research shows that by leading a physically active lifestyle, humans are less likely to contract diseases.

He said: “Regular exercise may just bolster your immune system on top of its more obvious benefits of fitness and strength.”

Alongside a healthy diet, Dr Mosley said that the best exercise you can incorporate to your routine is a combination of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and resistance exercise.

The expert advocated starting an exercise routine “in the comfort of your home”, as it “will help to reset your relationship with exercise”.

He added: “When spending extended time at home, it’s easy to lose structure in your day and ultimately fall off track, however, exercise is a great way to get you feeling productive.”

As for the best diets to eat when wanting to lose weight, Dr Mosley recommended a low-carb diet.

Dr Mosley explained: “Low-carb diets are not greeted with much enthusiasm by doctors or dieticians as you have to eat a lot of fat. However, clinical trials consistently show that low-carb diets are effective for weight loss, over and above low-fat diets that once proved popular for those slimming down and watching their weight.”

The expert advised against cutting out carbs completely, but instead being “choosy about the ones you regularly eat”.

He said: “If you want to try going lower-carb than white bread, white pasta, potatoes and sugars, including maple syrup and agave nectar, are best eaten sparingly, if at all.

“They are easily digestible carbohydrates, meaning they are rapidly absorbed by the body, creating a big spike in your blood-sugar levels.

“Instead, eat carbohydrates that contain lots of fibre. Fibre reduces the blood sugar spike, provides protection against bowel cancer and feeds the ‘good’ bacteria that live in your guts.”

Examples of fibrous carbs include vegetables, chickpeas, lentils, barley, oats, buckwheat, and rye.

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