Skip to content

The statements in this editorial may be obvious to many, but it is nicely written and needs to be said. Basically it says that exercise will not help you overcome the ill effects of a poor diet. I agree with what was said, but felt that what was missing was mention that a poor diet also has negative effects on the microbiome (the community of microbes living within the person) - which we know is linked to health problems.

From Medscape: Workouts Do Not Work Off Ill Effects of Poor Die

Exercise enthusiasts cannot work off the ill effects of an unhealthy diet, say the authors of an editorial published online April 22 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. "Let us bust the myth of physical inactivity and obesity," the authors write. "You cannot outrun a bad diet."

Physical activity levels in Western nations have remained flat during the past 3 decades, even as obesity rates have exploded. That observation is just one sign that calories, not lack of exercise, are driving the obesity crisis, argue Aseem Malhotra, MD, honorary consultant cardiologist at Frimley Park Hospital, United Kingdom, and science director for Action on Sugar, United Kingdom, and colleagues.

"However, the obesity epidemic represents only the tip of a much larger iceberg of the adverse health consequences of poor diet," the authors write. They say that the Lancet global burden of disease reports concluded that poor diet contributes to more disease than a combination of inadequate physical activity, alcohol, and smoking. As many as 40% of people with normal body weight will suffer from metabolic abnormalities typically associated with obesity, the authors write, including hypertension, dyslipidemia, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and cardiovascular disease.

Dr Malhotra and colleagues blame food industry marketing for promoting exercise over diet, comparing food industry public relations with discredited tactics used by the tobacco industry in the past. They say Coca Cola "pushes the message that 'all calories count'; they associate their products with sport, suggesting it is ok to consume their drinks as long as you exercise. However science tells us this is misleading and wrong."

The kind of calorie matters too, they emphasize. Calories from sugar promote fat storage and hunger; fat calories induce satiety. For every 150 calories consumed from sugar, there is an 11-fold increase in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes independent of weight or physical activity levels compared with consumption of 150 calories of fat or protein.