In a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, researchers find that people can burn more body fat by exercising in the morning before breakfast.
The study is led by Northumbria University. They examined the impact of breakfast and exercise on metabolism and appetite.
12 physically active men took part in the study. They completed 4 trials in a design comprising a continued overnight fast followed by rest with or without breakfast or exercise with or without breakfast. The exercise was continuous, moderate-intensity running.
Later, participants were given a chocolate recovery drink. After 1.5 hours, they were provided with a pasta lunch that they were asked to consume until they felt comfortably full.
Each participant’s consumptions of energy and fat during lunch were recorded.
Researchers found that people who exercised in the morning did not consume additional calories or have higher appetite during the day to compensate for their earlier activity.
Furthermore, participants exercised in a fasted state burned almost 20% more fat compared to those who consumed breakfast before their exercise.
Researchers suggest that performing exercise on an empty stomach may provide the most desirable outcome for fat loss.
People who want to lose fat need to use more fat than they consume. When we exercise after an overnight fast, it is possible to use a greater proportion of fat to provide energy for workout.
This finding is important for people who are exercising to lose more fat. In the future, researchers will test the long-term effects of exercising before breakfast on fat loss.
Citation: Gonzalez JT, et al. (2013). Breakfast and exercise contingently affect postprandial metabolism and energy balance in physically active males. British Journal of Nutrition, 110: 721-732. DOI: 10.1017/S0007114512005582.
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