A new scientific study has examined the way eating breakfast before a workout affects the body's response to food after exercise. Thanks to Madonna and her 'cardio-fasting,' the trend of depriving the body of food before an intense workout spread like wild fire.
However, scientists are now arguing that eating breakfast before a sweat session may 'prime' the body to burn carbs during exercise and, better yet, more rapidly digest food after working out.
Do you prefer eating before or after a workout?
As the first study - published in The American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism - to examine the ways in which breakfast affects the body's reaction to food after exercise, researchers looked at the effect of eating a morning meal versus fasting overnight before an hour's cycling.
The scientists - from the University of Bath and Birmingham, Newcastle and Stirling - found that eating breakfast increased the rate at which the body burned carbohydrates during exercise, as well as increasing the rate that the body digested and metabolised food eaten after exercise.
The study also involved a control test where breakfast was followed by three hours rest and participants (12 male volunteers) ate a bowl of porridge made with milk two hours before working out.
Post exercise or rest, the scientists tested the blood glucose levels and muscle glycogen levels of the volunteers who took part.
Dr Javier Gonzalez, from the University of Bath, said: "We found that, compared to skipping breakfast, eating breakfast before exercise increases the speed at which we digest, absorb and metabolise carbohydrate that we may eat after exercise."
PhD student Rob Edinburgh added: "We also found that breakfast before exercise increases carbohydrate burning during exercise, and that this carbohydrate wasn't just coming from the breakfast that was just eaten, but also from carbohydrate stored in our muscles as glycogen."
"This increase in the use of muscle glycogen may explain why there was more rapid clearance of blood sugar after "lunch" when breakfast had been consumed before exercise."
The researchers explained that, at least after just one workout, eating breakfast prepares the body for quicker storage of nutrition when we eat meals post exercise.
Edinburgh continued that the researchers have ongoing studies examining whether eating breakfast before or after exercise on a regular basis influences health as a whole.
"In particular there is a clear need for more research looking at the effect of what we eat before exercise on health outcomes, but with overweight participants who might be at an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease," he said.
Who else is looking forward to tomorrow's porridge and toast before their morning run? Come at us, food!
From: ELLE UK