The intricate relationship between obesity, supplements and exercise

One commonly held belief among dieticians and exercise aficionados is that weight lost quickly is just as quickly put back on — but is this science or myth?

A new Australian study sought to test this idea, evaluating 200 obese people randomly separated into two groups. The researchers assigned one group with a “severely calorie-restricted diet” for a 12-week period while the other group was tasked with a more moderate diet over 36 weeks. This created one controlled group of people who lost weight quickly and one that lost it more gradually. About 76 percent of the former and 51 percent of the latter lost at least 12.5 percent of their initial body weight during their respective study periods, and were then put onto a three-year weight maintenance diet.

It’s time to debunk the idea that losing weight quickly makes you any more or less susceptible to regaining weight than those who shed pounds over a longer, slower timetable. What’s more important to achieving long-lasting weight loss isn’t the speed with which you do it, but enriching a healthy regimen with fruits, vegetables, low-fat foods and steady amounts of exercise, instead of gulping down weight loss supplements without discretion.

While a well-rounded diet and regular exercise regimen are often touted as the keys to a healthy weight, oftentimes they simply aren’t enough. As cited in many cases of sports nutrition, in many cases, physiological factors other than poor eating habits or sedentary lifestyles may be to blame for excessive weight gain, making weight-loss surgery a necessity. But surgery isn’t an end-all, be-all solution either, and new research points to how supplementing these procedures with working out regularly can help facilitate even more health benefits, even without a single dosage of dietary supplement.

A team of researchers at the Sanford-Burnham Translation Research Institute for Metabolism and Diabetes in Florida evaluated 119 people who had undergone weight-loss surgery and split them into two groups. One of these groups was tasked with 120 minutes of moderate, weekly exercising in addition to enrollment in educational classes that taught nutrition, proper medication use and upper-body stretching, among other topics. The second group was only assigned the classes and none of the work-outs.

By the end of the 24-week study period, patients in the first group demonstrated significant improvements in insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism compared to those in the latter group, of which low levels are considered risk factors for type 2 diabetes. Additionally, the group that had followed their weight-loss procedures with their new exercise routine exhibited improved circulatory and respiratory functions, cutting down their likelihood of diabetes, stroke, cardiovascular disease and lung cancer.