Diet vs. Exercise: Which Is Better?

    A pair of gray and orange running shoesDiet or exercise…which one is more important is an age-old debate that just keeps going on and on and on.

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    If you’re trying to get healthy, tackling both diet and exercise is better than trying to improve one lifestyle habit at a time, new research suggests. But…the researchers did add that if you need to start with just one lifestyle change, choose exercise. They found that changing your diet first may interfere with attempts to establish a regular exercise routine.

    The study included 200 people, aged 45 and older, who were inactive and had poor diets. They were split into four groups: new diet and exercise habits at the same time; diet changes first and starting exercise a few months later; starting exercise first and making diet changes a few months later; and no diet or exercise changes.

    The groups received telephone coaching and were tracked for a year. Those who made diet and exercise changes at the same time were most likely to meet U.S. guidelines for exercise (150 minutes per week) and nutrition (5 to 9 servings of fruit and vegetables per day), and to keep calories from saturated fat at less than 10 percent of their total intake of calories.

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