This article was updated on August 6, 2021.
Though weight loss has a lot to do with the amount of food you eat, new research reveals it also is impacted by the timing of your meals. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that eating breakfast after a workout can double the amount of fat you burn from your session.
How eating time and weight loss are linked
Time might be the finickiest member of diet science. The idea that when you eat is almost as important as how much you eat in regards to efficient weight loss is a relatively new development- a development that has become notorious for its lack of a final word.
Although the study pool was relatively small, the results achieved on their behalf promises exciting horizons for new effective ways to mitigate the obesity crisis. The authors that penned the report write, “Pre-exercise nutrient availability alters acute metabolic responses to exercise, which could modulate training responsiveness.”
“Our results suggest that changing the timing of when you eat in relation to when you exercise can bring about profound and positive changes to your overall health. We found that the men in the study who exercised before breakfast burned double the amount of fat than the group who exercised after. Importantly, whilst this didn’t have any effect on weight loss, it did dramatically improve their overall health, ” Explained Dr. Javier Gonzalez, who is one of the Department of Bath members that co-authored the new paper.
The study spanned six weeks and was comprised of 30 men medically classified as either obese or overweight. After recruitment, these men were further segmented into three groups. Two were intervention groups, wherein one pool of participants ate breakfast before their workout, and the other ate breakfast after their workout. The men in the control group made zero changes to their lifestyle. As stated previously, the men that engaged in physical activity before their first meal of the day burned considerably more fat than both the control group and the other intervention group.
Even though both intervention groups observed the exact same training sessions and calorie intake, the muscles of the group of men that ate after working out responded much better to insulin production. These men also expressed higher numbers of important proteins that transport glucose throughout the body. What’s more, the intervention group that worked out after breakfast were no healthier than the control that changed absolutely nothing about their diet or workout regimen by the end of the study’s trial period.
Helmed by Dr. Rob Edinburgh, the new paper helps us better understand the role of metabolism and overnight fasting. When we don’t eat anything in the evening, the following day we’re enabled to utilize the fat in our tissue for fuel during a workout session. This very specific weight—hormone proof of principle is more easily animated with male models, but the researchers are determined to replicate these results with women in the very near future. Dr. Gareth Walls of the University Birmingham adds, “This work suggests that performing exercise in the overnight-fasted state can increase the health benefits of exercise for individuals, without changing the intensity, duration or perception of their effort. We now need to explore the longer-term effects of this type of exercise and whether women benefit in the same way as men.”
In addition to helping with weight loss, exercising early in the morning may help you be more successful overall. Check out the career titans who exercise just as the sun is coming up.