Should you have breakfast before you exercise?
Breakfast before exercise? This is a common debate among people who work out in the morning and a recent study from the University of Bath sheds new light on the discussion. The scientists conducted a study in collaboration with researchers at the universities of Birmingham, Newcastle and Stirling to understand the effect of eating breakfast versus fasting overnight before an hour of cycling.
The researchers found that eating breakfast before exercise increased the rate at which the body burned carbohydrates during exercise.
Twelve healthy men took part in this randomised study. The control group ate breakfast followed by three hours of rest, while the other group ate breakfast followed by two hours of rest and then 60 minutes of cycling. Another group of volunteers fasted overnight and omitted breakfast before cycling. The researchers tested blood glucose levels and muscle glucose levels after exercise or rest.
The researchers found that eating breakfast before exercise increased the rate at which the body burned carbohydrates during exercise. This is the first study that also examines the way in which breakfast before exercise influences your body’s responses to food eaten after exercise. The researchers discovered that breakfast before exercise increased the rate at which the body digested and metabolised food (carbohydrates) eaten after exercise, compared to skipping breakfast.
Breakfast before exercise affects the way your body burns carbohydrates. The researchers discovered that a pre-exercise breakfast increased carbohydrate burning during exercise. They found that the carbohydrates were released from breakfast and also from carbs stored in muscles as glycogen. The increased use of muscle glycogen may explain why there was a quick clearance of blood sugar after lunch when breakfast was consumed before exercise.
The findings suggest that eating breakfast before a single bout of exercise may prime your body to burn carbohydrates and rapidly store nutrition when you eat meals after exercise.
Previous studies have been conducted on people who have fasted, which is common for metabolism experiments, but these studies do not reflect the true situations that occur in daily living as most people do not fast during the day. This study provides an insight on the short-term effects of breakfast on exercise, but the scientists are looking at ongoing studies to understand how breakfast before or after exercise can have implications for your health.
Source: American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism
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