A new study from Stanford University shows that people interested in getting into better shape are most successful when they combine both diet and exercise.
Stanford researchers asked people to cut back animal fat to 10 percent per day, eat five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables every day, and do an exercise like walking at least two and half hours a week.
The results proved that the most successful participants started their programs with a combination of diet modifications and new exercise habits. The finding led experts to believe that despite doctors often telling patients to focus on one or the other, the best way to get and stay healthy is to combine diet and exercise.
"It comes down to making them both priorities and thinking about both throughout the day," said lead researcher Abby King, a professor at the Stanford (University) Prevention Research Center.
Tim Church, director of preventive medicine research at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, said, "This provides really strong evidence that you might as well do both from the beginning of your program."
Registered dietician and exercise physiologist Felicia Stoler agreed, saying many people would prefer to start with one or the other, "but when people become more physically active they feel better about themselves, and they often no longer want to put bad food in their system."