I know National Diabetes Month is all but over but I couldn’t let it pass completely without taking a look at one potentially easy way to aid in the fight against this troublesome condition.
In a new study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, health scientists at the Universities of Bath and Birmingham set out to assess the acute and chronic effects of exercise performed before versus after nutrient ingestion (or breakfast, as us non-scientists call it) on whole-body and intramuscular lipid utilization (or fat burning), and postprandial glucose metabolism (or insulin sensitivity).
The six-week study was performed on 30 men who had been classified as obese or overweight and compared results from three groups:
- One group who ate breakfast before exercising
- One group that ate after exercise
- A control group who made no changes to their lifestyle
No effect on weight loss
Let me point something out right off the bat. Whether the men in this study ate their meal before or after exercising didn’t make any differences in terms of weight loss over the six-week testing period. But the timing of meals did have "profound and positive" effects on their health.
I think this is an important point to make. There is a notion in the wellness-sphere that by exercising in a fasted state, you will literally burn the fat off of your body. While the researchers did find that the subjects used more of the fat from their fat tissue and the fat within their muscles as a fuel, it did not result in some magical weight loss protocol.
The subjects who exercised after eating breakfast lost the same amount of weight as the hungry exercisers who ate it after. And not surprisingly, the group who didn’t change their lifestyle at all lost no weight.