Working out before you eat breakfast could help you burn more fat, according to a new study conducted by researchers from the universities of Bath and Birmingham.
For six weeks, the team monitored a group of overweight and obese men who were sedentary. The team divided the participants into two groups: One group consumed breakfast before exercise and the other stuck to their typical routine and exercised. Those who exercised before breakfast burned more fat before they consumed their first meal. They were also found to have lower insulin levels during exercise.
The team believes this could significantly improve an individual's health. “The biggest takeaways from this study are that the timing of meals in relation to exercise can have a profound impact on the responses to exercise,” study co-author Javier Gonzalez, a senior lecturer in human physiology at the University of Bath, told a news portal. Adding, "For people looking to maximize the health benefits of exercise, performing some sessions in an overnight fasted state is likely to provide greater benefits than performing all sessions after breakfast."
Previous studies suggest working out before your morning meal even one time can help burn more fat. “Here we demonstrate that the increase in fat use with exercise before breakfast persists throughout six weeks of training, even as people get fitter,” Gonzalez told a news portal. Adding, "Furthermore, this translates into improvements in insulin sensitivity and adaptations in muscle associated with glucose control."
Making this type of lifestyle a habit may also reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes. “This suggests that if you have a person exercising who is at risk for diabetes or has diabetes and has high blood sugar, exercise should be done in the fasted state to foster this reduction in the insulin response to a meal, which is linked to overall metabolic health status,” Todd Astorino, PhD, a professor of kinesiology at California State University San Marcos, told a news portal.
Now, the team wants to further investigate the longer-term effects this type of exercise can have on people and to determine whether it can also similarly benefit women. "We performed this study in men as a first study to ensure we had a homogenous group of people," Gonzalez told a news portal. Adding "We are very keen to see if the responses translate to women too."
The study's findings were originally published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
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