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Working Out Extra Hard Won’t Make Up for a Poor Diet, Finds Study

The study also found that eating healthy without exercising is just as bad for you.

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Flex 'em
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Working Out Extra Hard Won’t Make Up for a Poor Diet, Finds Study
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Hitting the gym won’t help people avoid gaining weight and dealing with unhealthy eating habits, according to a new study.

The study published on Monday, 11 July in the British Journal of Sports Medicine also suggests that just eating healthy won't make up for a sedentary lifestyle and a lack of exercise.

What a Poor Diet Does

Although the vast majority of individuals recognize that exercising and consuming well are vital components of all-in-all health, according to the study, working out won't stop the effects of absorbing fat from meals, and eating lots of greens won't stop sedentary behaviour.

“Sensationalized headlines and misleading advertisement for exercise regimens to lure consumers into the idea of ‘working out to eat whatever they want’ have fueled circulation of the myth about ‘exercise outrunning a bad diet. ”
Study authors
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What The Study Found

Lifestyle choices you make today can lead to a healthier future.

(Photo: iStock)

The study was conducted over the course of 10 years when an international team of researchers followed up on data from approximately 350,000 participants obtained from the U.K. Biobank, a sizable medical database containing health information from people all around Britain.

The notion was that we might be able to "outrun a terrible diet" with more rigorous activity. They looked at how often and how vigorously each participant exercised on average each week.

What they found was that vigorous exercise does not improve the detrimental impact of a bad diet on health.

This has been supported by previous research on animals as well as a few human trials, which indicates that, at least in the short term, arduous exercise can reverse the consequences of overeating.

At the start of the study, the study's participants, who had a median age of 57, were in good health and had no known illnesses like cancer, heart disease, or chronic pain.

Although there are several ways to measure diet, for the purposes of this study, a 'poor diet' included eating a lot of processed meat and red meat with little to no seafood.

According to Melody Ding, the study's lead author and an associate professor at the University of Sydney, the study did not assess optional items like desserts or soft beverages.

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Balance is Key: Diet and Exercise Go Hand-in-Hand

The researchers used responses to a different questionnaire to determine how much time people spent walking, engaged in moderate physical activity, such as carrying light loads or riding at a steady pace, and strenuous physical activity, which lasted longer than 10 minutes at a time.

According to the study's authors, it was the first to compare food and exercise with both overall mortality and specific fatal conditions like cancer.

People who engaged in a high level of physical activity and ate a high-quality diet fared the best, with a lower chance of mortality from any cause.

They were also less likely to die from cardiovascular disease and from certain malignancies when compared to persons who had low levels of physical activity and a low-quality diet. And even as little as 10 to 75 minutes each week made an effect.

Unfortunately, high levels of physical activity could not mitigate the negative impact of a poor diet on mortality risk.

In fact those with the most nutritious diets in the study fared significantly worse without some type of regular fitness practise.

"Physical activity is important. And whatever your physical activity is, diet is important.”
Melody Ding, the lead author of the study and an associate professor at the University of Sydney.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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