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What You Eat Affects Your Weight More Than How Much You Exercise

One of the big pushes behind physical fitness routines and diet fads is the notion that you can eat what you want so long as you exercise and work it off. But this isn’t really accurate. In fact, research has shown that people in the US exercise at about the same rate as they have been for the past few decades. What is changing is the kind of food they are eating.

You Are What You Eat

It is easier than ever to find foods that are unhealthy for you. A few decades ago, this wasn’t the problem, as fast food places and unhealthy foods just weren’t the norm. Now they are everywhere, and it takes a concerted effort to find something healthy to eat.

The surge of health food brands over the past decade or two is proof of that, but these are mostly niche brands that don’t get onto most people’s grocery lists. The kinds of foods that people are used to eating are becoming ever more saturated with fat, sugar salt, and carbs to make them more appealing.

The unhealthy additions to the foods we all eat are not part of a ploy to make everyone less healthy. Instead, food manufacturers are simply adding in ingredients that they know will make us crave more and eat more. The negative effect it has on the population is evident by the increasing percentage of obese and unhealthy people in the United States.

Unless people pull away from that kind of food, they will not change their health status, and they will continue to slide into an unhealthy, obese state.

Exercise Is Not Enough

Now exercise is important, make no mistake about that. But it is not the most important thing in making your body healthy, and it is certainly not all you need to do. Far more important is watching what you eat and making sure that the food that makes up your diet is good for you.

You can exercise as much as you want, but if you are not eating good food, you are never going to get healthy. Someone who lives a very active lifestyle and eats mostly fried foods will still have high cholesterol and will be at risk for heart problems. The exercise can decrease their risk of obesity and cardiovascular complications, but it cannot be as effective as it should be if they are still eating an unhealthy diet.

Before you put all your effort into an exercise routine, you need to make sure that you are eating the right kinds of foods. You can exercise all you like and perhaps lose some weight, but you may not gain muscle or significantly affect your risk factors until you start eating like you should.

Research from the British Journal of Sports Medicine shows that the majority of people who do exercise regularly will still retain many of the same risk factors for hypertension, cardiovascular disease and other health problems that obese people do. Even though they are committed to exercising on a regular basis, they are not really doing themselves much good. They are still encountering the exact same problems that everyone else does who is not as active as they are.


It all comes down to what you eat. If you load up on sugar and carbs, it will affect your obesity and your risk factors. You have to make some serious changes to what you are eating and how your diet is made up before you can expect to see major health benefits from exercising. Now that can be difficult to do in today’s food market. There are simply too many options that contain unhealthy ingredients. The food that is good for you is either not as readily available or priced astronomically. But making that extra effort will be well worth it, and you can start to see a difference in the way you look and feel just by making a few simple diet changes.

Next time you make up a plan for how you are going to get healthy, be sure to put your diet at the top of the list and make exercise number two.

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