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24 Hours of Fat Burning From Exercise?

Study Puts a Damper on Belief That Workouts Turn Us Into Daylong Fat Burners

Fat Burning: Calories Count

The study findings are ''dispelling the myth that you can create a 24-hour fat-burning situation after exercise," says Pete McCall, an exercise physiologist and spokesman for the American Council on Exercise.

But, he tells WebMD, the findings were limited to exercisers who did moderate-intensity exercise, and for an hour or less. "These results might not apply to different forms of exercise or higher-intensity exercise," McCall says.

Still, he says, the research results might be a crucial wake-up call. "The point of this study, I think, is [that] he is trying to get people out of that mind-set: 'I just worked out and I can eat whatever I want.'" At least for people trying to lose weight, McCall says, that's certainly not true.

Melanson says that the take-home message from his research depends on whether you are trying to lose weight or just maintain. "If you are using exercise to lose body weight or body fat, you have to consider how many calories you are expending and how many you are taking in," he says. The goal is a negative fat balance.

"If your body mass index is below 25, you shouldn't be concerned about losing more body fat," he says.

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