Sex won't help you lose weight: study

Kimberly Gillan
Friday, February 1, 2013

Sex might be good for our general health –– but it's not likely to help us lose weight.

A new study has found that six minutes of activity –– which a 1984 study found is the average length of intercourse –– only uses up about 14 more calories than six minutes watching TV.

Researchers from the University of Alabama in the US debunked the "sex for weight loss myth" and dozens more health myths in their paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Jarrod Meerkin, a spokesperson for Exercise and Sports Science Australia, told ninemsn the popular assumption that we burn 300 calories in sex, is very inaccurate.

"Your heart rate doesn't really increase and when it does increase, it increases very rapidly and for a short period of time," he said.

"That's due to our bodies utilising the sympathetic nervous system. In exercise you get a sustained elevated heart rate for a long period of time and if you can knock over 500 or 600 calories an hour you are doing well. With an average of six minutes, the calorie expenditure is not that great."

The myth-busting study by Dr David Allison, who heads the Nutrition Obesity Research Centre at the University of Alabama, also found that setting bigger weight loss goals gets us better results than chunking it into small goals –– as is often advised by weight loss experts.

They also found people who yo-yo on crash diets tend to have the same amount of long-term weight loss as people who follow slower, more moderate diets.

Dr Allison told the New York Times that the bulk of studies into so-called "proven" weight loss strategies are flawed.

He said the best evidence of successful weight loss came from people who followed weight loss programs that provided meals, took prescription drugs or had weight loss surgery.

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