STUDY: You Can’t Exercise Your Way Out Of A Bad Diet

Ever feel like you can eat pretty much anything you want because you exercise enough? Sadly, new research reveals that being active isn’t enough to save you from a bad diet. It’s not the result Melody Ding, an epidemiologist and behavioral scientist, was hoping for when she started the study. She says she’s very active and generally eats healthy, so she sometimes feels she can “relax” a little with her diet, but she wanted scientific proof.

So Ding and her team looked into the “interacting effects” of diet and physical activity on long-term health and life-span. Their new study analyzes the diets and exercise patterns of more than 360-thousand British adults over the course of 11 years. They looked at how much exercise participants did in an average week, how vigorous it was and the hope was that maybe we could “outrun a bad diet” — which they consider to be one low in fruit and veggies, no fish and lots of red meat, especially processed meat — with more vigorous exercise … but that’s not what they found.

Study authors determined that high levels of physical activity didn’t counteract the harmful effects of a poor diet on mortality risk. Even Ding herself admits she was “secretly hoping for and expected” that the results would be different. The mortality risk was lower for those who had a bad diet but were active compared to those who ate a poor diet but were inactive, but the best outcomes were among those with a healthy diet AND an active lifestyle. “So physical activity always helps, regardless of dietary quality,” Ding explains. “It is just that diet still matters even if someone is very active.”

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

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