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Study Finds Eating Breakfast May Boost Carb Metabolism During Exercise

Is it better to fast before exercise or to eat? A recent study suggests that eating breakfast before working out may help the body burn more carbohydrates during exercise and digest food more rapidly after exercise.


Participants in the study included 12 healthy men. For the first part of the study, the participants ate a control test breakfast and then rested for three hours. For the second half, they ate a breakfast of porridge made with milk two hours before exercising (60 minutes of cycling). For the last part of the study, the participants fasted overnight and then cycled for 60 minutes. The researchers tested the participants; blood glucose levels and muscle glycogen levels after exercise or rest.


The researchers found that eating breakfast was associated with an increased rate at which the body burned carbohydrates during exercise. It was also associated with an increase in the rate at which the body digested and metabolized food after exercise.


The carbohydrates burned during exercise weren’t just those consumed during breakfast, but also carbohydrates stored in the muscles as glycogen. This depletion of muscle glycogen during exercise could explain the reason for the more rapid clearance of blood sugar after lunch.


Researchers from the University of Bath conducted the study. It was published on August 14, 2018, in American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology and Metabolism.


Previous studies have found that eating breakfast may curb hunger throughout the rest of the day. Some studies have also found that it may contribute to weight loss, although the results regarding weight loss are still inconclusive.

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