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Study Finds Link Between Regular Exercise and Healthier Eating

If you’re having trouble sticking to your diet, you may want to start incorporating exercise into your week. A new study has found that exercising regularly may be linked to healthier eating habits.


Participants in the study included 2,680 young adults who were not exercising regularly or dieting prior to the study. Participants underwent 15 weeks of 30-minute aerobic workouts three times per week. Exercise duration, intensity, and dose were recorded during each session using heart rate monitors. Participants were instructed not to change their diet in any significant way. Diet information was collected at baseline and at the end of the study.

At the end of the study period, the participants were more likely to choose healthy foods such as lean meats, fruits, and vegetables. Preferences for fried foods, sodas, and other unhealthy options decreased. A longer duration of exercise was associated with decreased preferences for the western and snacking dietary patterns. A higher intensity of exercise was associated with an increased preference of the prudent dietary pattern.

The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Texas Austin and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. It was published online ahead of print January 18, 2019, in the International Journal of Obesity.
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