Does exercise make up for a junk food diet? New study says no.

diet, food, health, healthy, unhealthy, exercise, physical activity, death, dying, mortality, risk, cardiovascular disease, cancer, obesity, study, research, University of Sydney, high quality, poor diet

While we’d all like it to be true, a new study conducted by the University of Sydney has debunked the urban myth that vigorous exercise can make up for an unhealthy diet in terms of overall health and mortality. Meaning the Tim Tams and fizzy pop might have to remain on the supermarket shelf.

The study, involving 346 627 adult participants in the UK over an 11-year period, examined associations between the intensity of physical activity and quality of diet with mortality from both cardiovascular disease and cancers related to diet and obesity.

Interestingly, researchers found that those with the healthiest diet had the least risk of dying from diet and obesity-related cancers, regardless of whether they exercised a lot, or not at all. Physical activity played no part in these results.

However don’t cancel your gym membership yet – the study also found that while many cancers were not affected by exercise intensity, any kind of physical activity did decrease the risk of developing a range of other diseases including cardiovascular disease.

The study found that the risk of dying from all causes was reduced by 17% for those who had both healthy diets and regular exercise routines, when compared with those who were non-exercisers with poor diets. The good-eating fit folk also reduced their mortality risk by 27% for certain cancers and 19% for cardiovascular disease. Food for thought.

For the purposes of the study, a high-quality diet was defined as containing a minimum of five portions of fruit and vegetables every day, two portions of fish a week and low intake of red meat and processed meats.

The study used data from UK Biobank, a large databank depository of biomedical, genetic and health information from half a million UK participants.

Lead author of the research, Associate Professor Melody Ding, said that in terms of achieving optimal health, a well-rounded and holistic approach would achieve the best results.

“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.

“This study reinforces the importance of both physical activity and diet quality for achieving the greatest reduction in mortality risk,”

[optin-monster-inline slug=”oqqklvasafov6yvbfsuo”]

More articles that might interest you: