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What You Eat May Increase Your Benefit from Exercise

Studies have shown that consuming foods with a low glycemic index (GI) before exercise increases the amount of fat burned.


However, most of these studies have included high intensity exercise and trained athletes.  None of them looked at the effects the pre-exercise meal has on metabolism during and after exercise.


To fill this gap in knowledge, Dr. Emma Stevenson at the University of Nottingham recently conducted a study to determine the effect of low glycemic meals on more typical (sedentary) individuals. The study was published in the May 2009 issue of the Journal of Nutrition.


For the study, 8 healthy, sedentary women completed 2 exercise trials. For one trial, the participants were provided with a high glycemic index breakfast.  For the other trial, they were provided with a low glycemic index breakfast.


The participants walked for 60 minutes 3 hours after consuming the breakfasts.


The researchers found that low GI foods resulted in an increase in fat oxidation during exercise and improved satiety during recovery.


They concluded that people trying to shed pounds should consider eating foods with a low glycemic index before exercising.


The GI value of a food is calculated by measuring how fast the carbohydrates it contains raise blood sugar levels. Foods such as artichokes, avocados and peanuts are low GI foods and therefore have little impact on blood sugar fluctuations.  Some high GI foods are white bread, pretzels, potatoes and dates.

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