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Nutrition Vs. Exercise...Which One Is More Effective ?

January 22, 2019

Nutrition Vs. Exercise...Which One Is More Effective ?

Living a healthier lifestyle is one of the most popular New Years' resolutions that unfortunately, falls to the wayside for many, come February or March. Fitness is a billion dollar industry that is constantly doling out a multitude of options and theories for the best or fastest way to achieve a healthier and stronger body. 

The "tried and true" method of combining a healthy diet and exercise is always at the forefront, but some argue that ones diet with nutritional supplementation is more important. Other experts or health gurus insist that exercise is the key, and the rest say it is a combination of both. So which is the best advice to follow? A recent study by the University of Michigan suggests that they may have found some answers.

University of Michigan researchers looked at mineral supplementation and exercise in mice, and found surprising results -- nutrition has a greater impact on bone mass and strength than exercise. Further, even after the exercise training stopped, the mice retained bone strength gains as long as they ate a mineral-supplemented diet.

"The longer-term mineral-supplemented diet leads to not only increases in bone mass and strength, but the ability to maintain those increases even after detraining," said David Kohn, a U-M professor in the schools of dentistry and engineering. "This was done in mice, but if you think about the progression to humans, diet is easier for someone to carry on as they get older and stop exercising, rather than the continuation of exercise itself."

The second important finding is that the diet alone has beneficial effects on bone, even without exercising. This surprised Kohn, who expected exercise with a normal diet to fuel greater gains in bone strength, but that wasn't the case.

"The data suggests the long-term consumption of the mineral-supplemented diet could be beneficial in preventing the loss of bone and strength with age, even if you don't do exercise training," he said. Combining the two amplifies the effect.Most other studies look at effects of increasing dietary calcium, Kohn said. The UM study increased calcium and phosphorus, and found benefits to increasing both.

These findings give researchers a great conceptual place to start in relation to how similarly it may have the same results in humans and their diet and exercise regimens. Of course, this doesn't mean that one should stop exercising altogether and solely focus on diet and supplementation. Exercise, in whatever capacity, has long been proven to provide many benefits both mentally and physically. If you are starting 2019 with a healthier lifestyle, or revamping your strategies to stay committed to your goals, that's fantastic! Remember as always, to check with your health professional before starting any new health regimen so that you can find what will work best for you in the long term.

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