Exercise or diets. Which works better? A new study finds that exercise helps control diet.

The study was published in the journal Obesity Reviews.

“Physical exercise seems to encourage a healthy diet. In fact, when exercise is added to a weight-loss diet, treatment of obesity is more successful and the diet is adhered to in the long run”, said Dr. Miguel Alonso-Alonso of Harvard University/MIT

In the study Dr. Alonso-Alonso and colleagues found that an increase in physical activity shows improvement in diet quality. For healthy eating habits, exercising increases awareness to physical fullness, by exercising individuals can better control their food urges.

"Understanding the interaction between exercise and a healthy diet could improve preventative and therapeutic measures against obesity by strengthening current approaches and treatments," said Dr. Alonso-Alonso.

In previous studies Dr. Alonso-Alonso found exercise makes self-regulations of a behavior possible, changing cognitive brain processes, inhibiting behavioral impulsiveness and increase self-control to resist urges for unhealthy foods.

"Exercise produces a potentiating effect of executive functions including the ability for inhibitory control, which can help us to resist the many temptations that we are faced with everyday," said Alonso-Alonso.

"Regular exercise improves output in tests that measure the state of the brain's executive functions and increases the amount of grey matter and prefrontal connections," he said.