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Exercise and Diet. Who Would've Thought?

Most clinicians recognize that lifestyle change is difficult for patients. Recent research is helping them understand what patients really need in order to make sustainable and effective changes in their diet and activity level.

Studies suggest that direct access to healthy food and a coordinated exercise program improve psychological well-being and metabolism, respectively. When patients with chronic disease “learn by doing” using evidence-based lifestyle modification programs—even over a short period of time—both health and well-being improve.

In a randomized controlled trial over a two-week period, researchers investigated the effects of giving a group of young people a $10 voucher for fruits and vegetables and twice daily text-reminders versus giving another group of young people the actual fruits and vegetables worth $10 with no reminders.1

Despite both groups consuming relatively the same amount of fruits and vegetables—including a higher amount than normal even—only the group that was given fruits and vegetables flourished and showed improvement in their vitality and motivation.1 This study suggests that direct access to healthy food may be necessary for effective dietary change.1 In other words, clinicians may want to consider investigating their patients’ access to quality food before giving them other tools to help them eat better.

A 2018 study found that urban gardens have a positive impact on nutrition-related outcomes like healthy food practices.2 Participants in urban gardens reported greater fruit and vegetable consumption, better access to healthy foods, greater valuing of cooking, harvest sharing with family and friends, enhanced importance of organic production, and valuing of adequate and healthy food.2

Another recent survey showed that home and school eating are associated with better food choices, whereas other locations, including on-the-go, are associated with poor food choices.3 The home remains an important target for intervention through family and nutrition education, outreach, and social marketing campaigns, according to the survey.3 Systemic review and meta-analyses of a healthy but aging population has also shown a positive effect of exercise on inflammatory markers.4 Regular exercise decreased IL-6 and CRP levels in older persons; however, the effect of exercise on TNF-a remained unclear.4

Make an appointment with Dr. Floyd and come learn how functional medicine can improve your life, starting with simple diet and exercise changes coupled with proper supplementation.


  1. Conner TS, Brookie KL, Carr AC, Mainvil LA, Vissers MC. Let them eat fruit! The effect of fruit and vegetable consumption on psychological well-being in young adults: a randomized controlled trial. PLoS One. 2017;12(2):1-19. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0171206.

  2. Garcia MT, Ribeiro SM, Germani ACCG, Bogus CM. The impact of urban gardens on adequate and healthy food: a systematic review. Public Health Nutr. 2018;21(2):416-425. doi:10.1017/S1368980017002944.

  3. Ziauddeen N, Page P, Penney TL, Nicholson S, Kirk SF, Almiron-Roig E. Eating at food outlets and “on the go” is associated with less-healthy food choices than eating at home and in school in children: cross-sectional data from the UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey Rolling Program (2008-2014). Am J Clin Nutr. 2018;107(6):992-1003. doi:10.1093/ajcn/nqy057.

  4. Monterio-Junior RS, de Tarso Maciel-Pinheiro P, da Matta Mello Portugal E, et al. Effect of exercise on inflammatory profile of older persons: systemic review and meta-analyses. J Phys Act Health. 2018;15(1):64-71. doi:10.1123/jpah.2016-0735.

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