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Researchers say exercising before breakfast benefits overall health

Photo: Evgeniia Medvedeva/iStockphoto

Bath, England — Rather than starting your day with bacon and eggs, British researchers are recommending you try lunges and squats.

To study whether health outcomes vary between eating breakfast before exercising and vice versa, researchers from the universities of Bath and Birmingham placed 30 men considered obese or overweight into two intervention groups – those who ate breakfast before working out and those who ate after exercising – and a control group, whose members made no lifestyle changes.

Although no weight loss difference between the intervention groups was apparent after the six-week study period, the men who exercised before eating breakfast were better able to respond to insulin. This kept their blood sugar levels under control, potentially lowering their risk of diabetes and heart disease.

The study participants who exercised before eating burned twice the amount of fat than those who worked out after breakfast. The increased fat use, according to the researchers, is mainly because of lower insulin levels during exercise after overnight fasting. This means that more fat from both fat tissue and muscles are being used by the body as fuel.

Additionally, the muscles of the men who exercised before breakfast showed more increases in key proteins, specifically those involved in transporting glucose from the bloodstream to muscles.

“Our results suggest that changing the timing of when you eat in relation to when you exercise can bring about profound and positive changes to your overall health,” Javier Gonzalez, study co-author and a senior lecturer at the University of Bath, said in an Oct. 19 press release.

The study was published online Oct. 19 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

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