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Can you out-exercise a poor diet?


Can you out-exercise a poor diet?

Does exercising regularly give you carte blanche to eat whatever you want? The short answer: no.
The nutrients put in your body — good and bad — can affect your health and your risk for certain types of diseases regardless of how much you exercise, says Tidelands Health family medicine physician Dr. Elizabeth Dixon, who offers care at Tidelands Health Family Medicine at Murrells Inlet.
“Diet is in some ways more important than exercise in avoiding metabolic diseases,” Dr. Dixon says.
One study found that nearly half of deaths in the U.S. caused by common diseases such as heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes were related to poor eating habits.


Of course, exercise is quite good for your health. It can help build muscle mass, keep you mobile and help you maintain a healthy weight. But exercise is only part of the equation.

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It can require an hour or more to burn through calories that take only minutes to consume. Even if you’re able to maintain a healthy weight through exercise, the protective effects of exercise may not be enough to stave off chronic disease. Marathon runners and other athletes have been known to develop heart disease and other conditions associated with poor diet.

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Balanced diet

Generally, Dr. Dixon advises patients avoid foods that are white such as bread, potatoes, pasta, sugar and salt. Instead, she encourages people to incorporate more lean chicken, vegetables and fruits. And don’t drink your calories, she cautions.
Specifically, Dr. Dixon recommends patients follow the Mediterranean or DASH diets. Both prioritize heart health. Each diet is based on eating a lot of fruits, veggies and whole grains and getting healthy fats from foods such as fish and nuts.
Dixon also encourages patients who are struggling speak with a Tidelands Health nutritionist, who can make recommendations based on a person’s unique needs and health conditions.
It can be an adjustment, but it’s still possible to enjoy food while eating healthy.
“You don’t have to eat food you don’t like,” Dixon said. “You just have to shift your lifestyle.”

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