To Your Health
November, 2019 (Vol. 13, Issue 11)
Is Exercising Before Breakfast Best?
By Editorial Staff
You may think you need to fuel up with a good breakfast before doing any physical activity first thing in the morning, but research suggests doing the opposite may actually be beneficial from a health perspective.
For example, research summarized in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism suggests people who exercise first and then eat breakfast have better control over their blood sugar levels and burn more fat compared to people who eat first and then exercise. The six-week study involved overweight / obese adult men assigned to one of three groups for comparison. One group ate breakfast first and then exercised; the second group exercised first and then ate breakfast; and the third group made no lifestyle changes.
Results showed that exercising first and then ate breakfast positively impacted lipid and insulin characteristics compared to doing the opposite. Specifically, exercising first increased fat utilization (i.e., burned more fat) and reduced the insulin response to eating – both important consequences for overweight individuals who may also be experiencing related blood sugar / insulin issues that could eventually manifest as diabetes.
Interestingly, both groups lost a similar amount of weight and increased their fitness levels similarly during the study period. However, as stated, fat and blood sugar utilization were markedly increased merely by participating in exercise before breakfast, during the "fasting state" between bedtime and the first meal of the day.