You can’t just run it off later! Intense exercise can not lower the increased risk of death created by a poor diet, study finds
- People who eat a poor diet but regularly exercise are at the same risk of death as people who don’t work out or eat healthy, a new study finds
- Researchers found that people who eat healthy and exercise are around 20% less likely to die of any cause – including cancer and heart disease
- There is little benefit to just eating healthy or working out alone without doing the other, though
- Other research has found that working out regularly can have a positive impact on a person’s diet, though
It turns out that you can’t just eat unhealthy and ‘work it off later’.
Researchers at the University of Sydney, in Australia, found that people who eat a poor diet but regularly exercise are at the same risk of dying from heart disease, cancer or another cause than someone with the same diet who does not workout.
While there are still significant benefits to exercising, including day-to-day health and potential aesthetic gains, researchers warn that a healthy diet is still necessary.
Many people who often eat poor diets believe they are fine as long as they workout – and are even vindicated by the muscle and better cardio they build. Researchers are warning that this is not the case, though.
Just exercising alone is not enough to live longer, a new study finds. People who live an active lifestyle but eat a poor diet are at the same risk of all-cause mortality as people who do not exercise at all (file photo)
‘Both regular physical activity and a healthy diet play an important role in promoting health and longevity,’ Melody Ding, associate professor at the school, said.
‘Some people may think they could offset the impacts of a poor diet with high levels of exercise or offset the impacts of low physical activity with a high-quality diet, but the data shows that unfortunately this is not the case.’
Researchers, who published their findings Tuesday in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, gathered data from 360,600 UK adults whose data is in the UK Biobank.
Intense exercise can help a person develop a healthier diet as well as they are less likely to want to eat fatty foods
Researchers at Washington State University, in Pullman, Washington, found in a trial of mice that those who regularly exercised were able to avoid cues to eat unhealthy foods.
The findings indicate that exercise can improve a person’s discipline and decision making, and prevent them from making poor dietary decisions.
Each rat in the study was presented with a device the would make a noise, flash a light and present them a high-fat treat when they pushed a button.
The rats were denied the treat for 30 days, then were split into two separate groups, one which went through rigorous exercise training and one that did not.
Rats were then presented with opportunities to press the button again, though now it would not dispense any food.
Those that did not undergo the exercise were more likely to press the button, and to press it more often, indicating that they had cravings for the high fat food.
The research team notes that this likely indicates that the exercise that one group of rats underwent had some sort of psychological effect on them that pushed them away from craving fatty foods.
Each of the participants was categorized based on reported dietary and exercise patterns.
People who ate at least five serving of fruits and vegetables every day, regularly consumed fish and rarely ate red meat were considered to have the best diets.
Those who got regular exercise were placed into their own group as well.
Researchers then compared rates of death over an 11 year period from all causes among all people whose data was collected.
They found that people with both a high quality diet and who exercised regularly were 17 percent less likely to die from any cause than their peers.
Data for cancer and heart disease – two disease that are not only leading killers around the world but also conditions significantly tied to a person’s diet and exercise habits.
Those in the most healthy group were 19 percent less likely to die of heart disease and 27 percent less likely to die of select cancers than their peers.
‘Adhering to both a quality diet and sufficient physical activity is important for optimally reducing the risk of death from all causes, cardiovascular disease and cancers,’ Joe Van Buskirk, co-author of the study, said in a statement
But the same benefit was not apparent in people who only ate a healthy diet, or exercised regularly with a poor diet.
Researchers found no significant difference in all-cause mortality between people who scored poorly in both factors when compared to those who only were poor in one category.
‘This study reinforces the importance of both physical activity and diet quality for achieving the greatest reduction in mortality risk,’ Ding added.
There may be some correlation between exercising and having a healthier diet, though.
A Washington State University study published in April found that mice who went through intense cardio exercise easily adopted low-fat diets when compared to their peers.
People who live more active lifestyles generally have better mental health as well, another factor tied to healthier eating habits.