Study says you shouldn’t do this before you exercise

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“In healthy men, pre-exercise breakfast omission creates a more negative daily energy balance and could, therefore, be a useful strategy to induce a short-term energy deficit.” This comes from a new study that appeared in The Journal of Nutrition back in April-furthering data on the dietary factors that can help individuals looking to lose weight maximize the effect of physical activity.

Some of the previous research conducted in the past has warned against skipping breakfast, as it might lead to over consuming calories later in the day, though more and more counter considerations seem to be peppering the dialectic.


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Dr. Flavia Cicuttini is the lead author of Effect of breakfast on weight and energy intake: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials” which premiered earlier this year. Cicutti is one of many professionals that intend to dispel the binary health measure we apply to breakfast. Back in January, she explained to CNN that a lot of the scientific literature published in favor of eating breakfast as an effective weight loss precaution were often examing individuals that were already healthy otherwise or at the very least exercised regularly.

Even this more recent study conducted back in April from The Journal Nutrition was conducted on a group of 12 healthy and active young men. The results, however limited, does suggest we reevaluate the concept of calorie compensation.

Calorie replenishing

The research began with an exercise lab and the 12 young men. On one morning of the study, the participants consumed a 430 calorie bowl of oatmeal before sitting for several hours. On another morning, the young men consumed a 430 calorie bowl of oatmeal before riding a bike for an hour. On the third morning, the participants skipped breakfast, rode a bike for an hour and then ate nothing until lunch.

The men lodged at the exercise lab through lunchtime and were permitted to eat as much food as they pleased during the lunch period. In addition to this, they were given a portion of food to take home, whatever was not eaten of this portion, had to be bought back to the lab the following morning. This way the researchers could determine the calorie intake of the participants while they were away. With these stipulations enacted, the researchers used repository masks and formulas to approximate energy expenditures,

The study group gained about 490 more than they burned when they ate their 430 calorie breakfast and then entered the resting period. When the men ate the 430 calorie bowl of porridge and then biked for an hour, they burned and consumed a nearly even number of calories. When the men skipped breakfast before going biking they ate a lot at lunch but then calorie consumption declined the rest of the day.

The study reports, “Plasma glucose utilization in FE (mainly representing liver glucose utilization) was positively correlated with energy intake compensation at lunch suggesting liver carbohydrate plays a role in postexercise energy-balance regulation.”

When we don’t have calories to burn for fuel during intense physical activity our bodies turn to fat and our carbohydrate stores. The effect of this may potentially lead to weight loss, by way of burning fat more effectively during exercise and seeing us not consume more calories than we burned later in the day. More broadly, it motions that whether or not you should eat breakfast is dependent on many variables.


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