While it’s no secret that it’s important to eat food that’s nutritious and beneficial to your body, you may have taken it for granted. getting enough exercise may counteract the effects of less-than-ideal food choices. However, a new study has shown that regularly eating unhealthy food may increase fatal risks despite exercise.
In the study, published in BMJ Sports MedicineResearchers from the University of Sydney in Australia looked at UK Biobank records spanning from April 2007 to December 2020. Using information from 346,627 UK residents who provided around 11 years of data, researchers first determined who eating a high-quality diet and who did not.
A high-quality diet was determined to be one that included at least four and a half cups of it of fruit or vegetables per day and at least two servings of fish per week. It also included no more than two servings of processed meat per week and less than five servings of red meat in that same timeframe. On the other hand, a low quality diet did not adhere to these parameters and instead contained more red meat and processed foods, and not enough fruit, vegetables or fish.
After analyzing the data, the researchers found that a healthy diet and exercise reduced the risk of fatal diseases by 17% and that a low-quality diet increased the risk of death. In addition, those with a low-quality diet had a 19% greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease and a 27% greater risk of PDAR (adiposity-related) cancer.
“I agree 100% with the results. You definitely can’t work your way out of an unhealthy diet,” Dana Ellis Hunnes Ph.D., MPH, RDsenior clinical dietitian at UCLA medical center, assistant professor at UCLA Fielding school of public health, and author Recipe for Survivaltells Eat This, Not That! “It’s very easy to eat out whatever you exercise, firstly, but secondly, the composition of the diet is also important. An inherently unhealthy diet cannot be solved by exercise alone .”
“We get the most bang for our buck in terms of fitness when we’re also eating a healthy diet that complements our overall healthy lifestyle,” Hunnes said. Furthermore, Hunnes notes that the more consistently we stick to a healthy diet and the more consistently we exercise, “the more consistently healthy we are.”
Regarding the recommended high-quality diet and the link to it longevityHunnes says, “I personally would like to see a more complete, plant-based diet than the one recommended here. But really, the one recommended here is much better than 3/4 of the diets of Americans .”
Desirée O is a freelance writer who covers lifestyle, food and nutrition news among other topics. Read more