Exercise Can’t Overcome a Poor Diet

Most of us know a bad diet when we see it – processed foods, processed carb sources, high fats and Omega 6s. But too often people mistakenly think that they can “get away with it” if they exercise, or exercise enough to “not gain too much weight”. Wrong! While working out is a fantastic way to reduce disease risk, it can’t cancel out all the dangers of a bad diet in terms of the risks of heart disease, and cancers.


Researchers at the University of Sydney looked at the mortality risks (the risks of diseases that can kill you) in conjunction with diet and exercise. They found that even if you were to exercise every day, like a maniac, it would still not be enough to overcome the detrimental health effects of diets high in processed foods and fats. This was based on data from over 360,000 British adults. Subjects who ate a healthy diet, defined as anything including at least five portions of fruit and vegetables daily, two portions of fish weekly, and overall low consumption of red and processed meats and exercised regularly had a whopping 17-percent lower all-cause mortality risk, a 19-percent lower cardiovascular disease mortality risk, and 27-percent lower mortality risk associated with certain cancers.


For most members of the Lean Body Nation, this further validates the “healthy Lean Body diet along with regular workouts” lifestyle. What’s interesting is that studies looking at the singular health benefits of working out, or the singular benefits of a healthy diet, don’t capture the health benefits of combining regular workouts and a healthy diet. This may be a 1+1=3 synergistic effect, whereby the combined effects are greater than the sum of its parts! There are an ever-growing number of theories as to why this might be true, including epigenetic changes, but while the scientists are trying to explain the “why”, all we have to do is hit the gym and eat healthy to live longer, be stronger, more energetic with better brain function!


Own it! We all know what to do. But there can be a gap between knowing and doing. Recognize that life is finite, short and in many ways is reflected as the sum total of the choices we make each and every day. Choose to do some form of exercise, even walking, if you can’t get to a gym or do a formal workout. Choose to pass on the short-term feel-good of junk food, and focus on what you want long-term. You, and your family, deserve it!

About the Author: Dr. Tom Deters

Dr. Tom Deters is the former Editor in chief and publisher of Muscle & Fitness magazine and publisher of both FLEX and Men’s Fitness magazines. He has published hundreds of articles and given hundreds of seminars on training, performance nutrition, diet strategy and bodyfat control.

Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and is not meant as medical advice, nor is it to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Please consult your physician before starting or changing your diet or exercise program. Any use of this information is at the sole discretion and responsibility of the user.