You can have your cake and eat it too, as long as you run your caboose off.
A new study claims that people who run more than five miles a day can pretty much eat whatever they want.
More than 100,000 subscribers to a popular running magazine -- along with some competitors taking part in running events -- filled out a two-page questionnaire for the Berkley National Laboratory at the University of California. The results were published in the November edition of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.
Runners were separated into five individual groups based on their daily mileage distance.
Those who logged the least number of miles daily (fewer than 1.2 miles) saw their waist circumference and body mass index increase considerably while consuming a diet high in meat and low in fruit.
However, that same diet had an extremely different outcome for runners who ran the most (more than 4.9 miles) day after day. These distance athletes reduced the effects of diet by an impressive 50 percent or more as compared to the least active runners, according to the Montreal Gazette.
Middle distance runners (1.2 to 2.4 miles) had better results on the high-meat, low-fruit diet than those who ran less than 1.2 miles a day, but couldn't come close to matching those who gallop like they're getting ready for the New York Marathon.
Paul Williams, the study's author, attempted to explain the stark results, which were produced by a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory.
"The diminished effect of dietary composition on the [body mass index] of higher mileage runners could be due to improved fat oxidation with exercise," Williams said.
In other words, the human body realizes that if it wants to eat more, it needs to train more.
The Montreal Gazette points out that individual results vary significantly. It takes about an hour of solid running to burn 600 calories, but less than 15 minutes to eat 600 calories in your average fast food burger meal with fries and a soft drink.