'Forget exercise... just eat less', says leading surgeon

Caroline Cassidy

We are often told that the key to losing weight is to combine a healthy, balanced diet with regular exercise. But a leading British surgeon has suggested that dieters should stop worrying about the exercise and simply eat less.

Eat less to lose weight
Eat less to lose weight

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Lord McColl of Dulwich said anyone looking to shift those excess pounds would find a reduction in their calorie consumption far more successful than sweating it out in the gym.

And he questioned the Government's insistence on promoting exercise as the key to beating obesity.

"We are in the middle of the most serious epidemic to have hit this country for 100 years - the obesity epidemic," Lord McColl said yesterday during question time. "The cure is free - you just have to eat less."

"Why does the Department of Health insist that exercise is important in this equation?" he asked Health Minister Earl Howe.

In response, Lord Howe insisted that guidelines suggested by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) were at the root of the Government's decision to actively promote exercise to aid weight loss.

Its recommendations include 30 minutes of brisk walking, cycling, gardening, swimming (or other moderate activities) five times a week, while those wishing to avoid gaining any weight should take 45 to 60 minutes each day.

Lord McColl, who spent 27 years as the director of surgery at Guy's Hospital, claims the advice on diet is of greater importance.

Nice recommends reducing the amount of food consumed and states: "Adults should usually be advised to follow a low-fat diet, or one where the food you eat each day provides about 600kcal less than your body needs to stay the same weight."

What do you think - is the Government wasting money by promoting exercise as the key to weight loss? Leave a comment below...