Although fasting before exercise may be a mantra for some celebrities and personal trainers, new research shows eating breakfast before you work-out could help “prime” your body to burn more carbs.
The UK research
is the first of its kind to examine the impact of breakfast on the body’s response to food immediately after exercise and for the rest of the day.
Researchers from the Universities of Bath, Birmingham, Newcastle and Stirling
compared eating a breakfast of wholegrain porridge and milk before cycling for an hour, versus working out after fasting overnight.
After exercise, the 12 healthy men participating in the study were given a cup of a sweet glucose drink and tests were done to see how quickly their bodies moved this glucose from the blood to be stored in other parts of the body, like the muscle.
Those who ate breakfast before exercise cleared glucose from their blood quickest, the team found. The researchers discovered that eating breakfast before exercising not only increased the rate at which the body burned carbohydrates during exercise, but also increased the body’s ability to digest and metabolise carbohydrates eaten throughout the day.
The study also showed the carbs burned were not only coming from breakfast, but from the glycogen stored in their muscles.
The researchers thought breakfast followed by exercise may kick start the body’s carbohydrate processing and “prime” the body for quicker storage of nutrients from the meals that follow.
While the research team is continuing to study the impact of eating before exercise, for now it’s interesting to know that eating a bowl of cereal before you work out may be a great way to kick start your metabolism for the day.
Why not try these three pre-workout breakfast ideas:
- Wholegrains and milk: Just like the study why not fuel up on a wholegrain porridge made with milk, or a plant-based milk? This combination is a great source of fibre and is low GI for slow release energy. The milk or a fortified plant milk can also be a handy source of calcium and vitamin B12. As the weather warms up, overnight oats topped with fruit and a splash of milk is a tasty option too. Wholegrain cereal and milk is also a breakfast winner.
- Wholegrain toast with nut butter: This is a high fibre start to the day. Nut butters are a good source of protein and healthy fats, which can lower the overall GI of a meal to keep you feeling fuller for longer. Choose a nut butter with no added sugar or salt.
- Fruit smoothie: Blend up your favourite whole fruits, along with milk or plant milk. If you're not a morning person, you can prep the night before by pre-chopping your fruit so your brekkie drink is ready to blend and go in the morning.