“Sport alone doesn’t make you thin,” says nutrition expert Karsten Köhler

Jogging to lose weight? Unfortunately it doesn’t work, says nutrition expert Karsten Köhler. He knows what really helps.

When it comes to the figure, what is the bigger problem: our overabundance of food? Or the lack of exercise?
Both are actually equally bad. In order to combat obesity, we have to turn both adjustment screws at the same time. Otherwise it won’t work.

Many people start exercising because they want to become slimmer. So that alone is not a promising strategy?
It can work – in moderation. But we see – especially on social media – descriptions of the positive effects of sport that are greatly exaggerated. On average, we lose very little weight because of it. There will be individuals who can do more. That’s maybe ten percent. At 90 percent, success is less than we would expect. Some even gain weight.

Like that? They do increase their energy consumption.
Yes, that’s right. But at the same time, the brain signals to the body: “You have to eat more, otherwise you will lose weight.” And for most of human history, losing weight has been a bad thing; we are genetically wired to conserve energy reserves for the next famine. Today that is no longer necessary. But we still have a strong physiological urge to eat. This isn’t a character flaw, it’s simply biology.

Karsten Köhler researches at the Technical University of Munich. His specialty: exercise and nutrition

© Andreas Heddergott / TU Muenchen

Do we overestimate how many calories we burn when exercising?
Yes, weight loss expectations are often exaggerated. The classic: Someone does a strength circuit in the gym. But the additional energy consumption is almost negligible. Endurance sports such as running or cycling are the most likely to increase energy consumption.

At what time?
That depends on your fitness level. If you are untrained, we might be talking about 300 to 400 kilocalories in a half-hour workout. If I do this three times a week and don’t change anything else, it will take me about eight weeks to lose a kilo of fat tissue. So very long. And often, out of frustration over the very slow loss of weight, you stop exercising again. Exercise has so many positive effects beyond weight.

Which ones, for example?

Login here


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *