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Diet study provides neat way to cut calories

By: Marly Schuman

Even if you don’t love exercise, there may be an active solution to help you lose weight. Any type of movement can help, according to the Mayo Clinic. The Mayo Clinic calls NEAT, or Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, an alternative way to expend calories. In fact, the studies have shown that NEAT is more important for calorie-burning than exercise for most people.

To achieve these study results, the Mayo Clinic conducted a study on animals as well as 20 people who were closely monitored at the hospital. No extra exercise was encouraged in study participants and doctors ensured a uniform number of calories consumed for every participant. The results of the study overwhelmingly pointed to the fact that following a normally active daily schedule results in higher calorie-burning than exercise.

NEAT is all of the activities you do throughout an average day, from washing dishes, to making your bed, to walking up the stairs to your office. These are all examples of spontaneous physical activity that help keep us in shape. Unfortunately, many people today find substitutes for these chores, such as using a dishwasher or taking the elevator.

The average person does not exercise for most of the day, so even in avid exercisers NEAT is the most significant form of movement. However, it is generally difficult to study because people’s movements are so different. NEAT doesn’t just involve activities like taking the stairs, it is really different for every person. It includes one’s occupation, leisure activities, and habits of fidgeting, according to the Mayo Clinic.

However, jobs play a huge part in NEAT since they encompass so much of what we do every day. Studies have found that there is a much higher obesity rate for those who have sedentary jobs than those who have active jobs. Still, non-occupational tasks are also important. Using cars, TV remote controls, and lawn-mowers are all examples of technology with negative health side effects.

For more information about NEAT, see the study by James A. Levine at the Mayo Clinic.


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