Should you eat a meal before or after exercise in the morning? This debate has been raging for several years. The ‘eat-first’ group of researchers believes that consuming food before exercise boosts blood sugars in the body, giving it the required fuel to increase the intensity and length of training. It also keeps one from getting tired or feeling dizzy. The ‘eat-after’ group of researchers opine that one can burn more fat if they fast before exercise. A small UK study published recently supports the latter point of view. The study investigated around 40 obese men and found that those who exercised before breakfast burned twice the amount of fat than men who ate breakfast before exercise did, because exercising with no fuel forces the body to store carbs.
Unfortunately, the eat-after group of researchers did not lose more weight than the eat-before group during the six weeks of the study, but it did have “profound and positive” effects on the health of the group that fasted, researchers further stated. Skipping the meal right before exercise made the men’s muscles more responsive to insulin, which regulates blood sugar, thus decreasing the risk of heart disease and diabetes. “The group who exercised before breakfast increased their ability to respond to insulin, which is all the more remarkable given that both exercise groups lost a similar amount of weight, and both gained a similar amount of fitness,” as stated by exercise physiologist Javier Gonzalez, Associate Professor, Department For Health, University of Bath, in a statement. Gonzalez added that the time of consumption was the only thing that made any difference. . A study undertaken by researchers from the University of Bath, back in 2017, which was also co-authored by Gonzalez, looked at nearly 15 men and found the same results, which indicated that due to lower blood sugar levels after fasting, the men burned more fat. On the other hand, this time, the men burned more calories when they ate breakfast before their workout session.
A study published in 2010 found similar results, in which saw participation of a group of 27 healthy, physically active men. One group did not perform any exercises. Two other groups were subjected to grueling morning exercises of running and cycling five times a week; one group ate before exercise and the other after the workout. It comes as no surprise that the group that didn’t exercise hence gained weight, although contrary to the 2017 study, the group who ate breakfast before exercise also gained weight. It was the group that exercised on an empty stomach, only on water that was able to maintain their weight, lost fat, and keep their blood sugar in check.
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