Can You “Exercise Away” A Bad Diet?

Metal balls balancedWhat if you eat junk food? Can you make up for that with more exercise?

Okay, but what if you just don’t exercise or get active at all. Can you make up for THAT with a healthy diet?

Unfortunately, if you’re looking for an end-run around the old “eat right and exercise” mantra,  this study is not your friend. Researchers at the University of Sydney have shown that high levels of physical activity will not counteract the effects of a nutrient-poor diet.

In other words, no, you can’t out-train a bad diet.

That’s because, even though it is true that a bad diet is normally high in calories (which you actually can make up for by exercise), the impact of your diet goes far beyond its calorie load. The impact of synthetic oils, colorants, nitrates, nitrites, and other chemicals will not be removed by another lap around the neighborhood.

So the bottom line returns to common sense. Activity complements a healthy diet in a way that boosts the effect of each other. You can’t undo the ill effects of a poor diet by squeezing in an extra workout, nor can you eat a perfect diet but lead a sedentary lifestyle.

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