Exercise or Diet: Which Is Better for Weight Loss?

Exercise and diet are two well-known weight loss strategies. But which is better? This guide will help you decide.


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If you’re trying to lose weight, you may be wondering which approach is the best: exercise or diet. Both have their benefits and challenges, and changes to either can result in the caloric deficit you need to lose weight. However, a combination of both is usually the best option for people trying to lose weight.


This guide reviews the benefits of exercise, the benefits of diet, and why they work best together when it comes to weight loss.

Benefits of exercise

The most obvious benefit of exercise in regards to weight loss, of course, is that it helps you to burn more calories—making it easier to achieve weight loss via a caloric deficit.


Unfortunately, cardio—which burns the most calories—also increases your appetite, which may be counterintuitive.


However, strength and resistance training can be extremely helpful for weight loss. Strength training builds muscle, which is much more dense than fat. As you burn fat while building new muscle, you’ll notice your body leaning out—even if the scale doesn’t move much.


Additionally, building muscle increases your metabolic rate—or the number of calories that your body burns naturally while at rest. The major benefit of this is that it allows you to eat more food while remaining in a calorie deficit and still losing weight.


If you love cardio but find that it impedes your weight loss, try high intensity interval training (HIIT). With HIIT, you do short bursts of intense exercise followed by periods of rest. A HIIT workout can be as short as 5-10 minutes and boast similar results to a longer cardio session.

Benefits of diet changes

Diet is a major player in weight loss. While exercise alone is unlikely to result in weight loss, many people can successfully lose weight by changing their diet—even if they don’t exercise at all.


Of course, creating a calorie deficit by consuming fewer calories is the most important diet change to make. However, this is easier said than done. 


Making the following diet changes may favorably affect your appetite and hunger hormones, helping you stay full and satisfied on fewer calories:


  • Limiting added sugars and highly processed foods
  • Avoiding calorie- and sugar-laden beverages like soda and alcohol
  • Eating more low-calorie, high-volume foods
  • Limiting starchy carbs like bread, pasta, rice, and potatoes
  • Choosing baked or roasted foods, rather than fried
  • Eating more protein 
  • Having a source of healthy fat with each meal


As you can see from the benefits of both diet and exercise, they are very important and may provide you the most weight loss success when they’re done together. Additionally, eating a healthier diet and exercising regularly provides many benefits beyond weight loss—such as decreased inflammation and a lowered risk of chronic disease.


If you’re looking for more support in your weight loss journey, you may want to consider supplements. For instance, Medlixr’s ACV + Keto is specifically formulated to support weight loss and optimal health on the keto diet. Additionally, Medlixr offers a variety of other lifestyle and wellness guides to help you make healthier choices.