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Exercising on Empty Stomach Burns 20% More Fat

Feb 1, 2013
 

A new study has found that exercising on an empty stomach in the morning can….

A new study has found that exercising on an empty stomach in the morning can help burn up to 20% more body fat than exercising after breakfast.

Dr. Emma Stevenson and PhD student Javier Gonzalez from the University of Northumbria were the lead researchers for the study.

They asked 12 physically active males to run on a treadmill at moderate-intensity at 10 a.m. Some males exercised after an "overnight fast," having consumed no breakfast that morning, while others ate breakfast before their run. Ninety minutes after their workouts, participants were given a chocolate milk recovery drink. Later, they were given a pasta lunch and asked to eat until they were comfortably full.

They found that fasting exercisers had a smaller appetite later in the day, and did not consume more calories to compensate for early-morning hunger, compared to their peers who had eaten before their workout. As well, those who exercised on an empty stomach burned up to 20% more fat compared to breakfast eaters.

Stevenson emphasized that the study examined short-term conditions and results from the subjects, so long-term effects about such nutritional practices can only be speculated on. "This research is very important in helping to provide practical guidelines relating to food intake to individuals who are exercising to maximize fat mass loss."

Gonzalez explained further: "In order to lose body fat we need to use more fat than we consume. Exercise increases the total amount of energy we expend and a greater proportion of this energy comes from existing fat if the exercise is performed after an overnight fast."

British Journal of Nutrition Jan. 2013