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London - If you are heading to the gym or pounding the pavements in the hope of losing weight, try to do it before you eat your breakfast.
Exercising before the first meal of the day is more effective than after it, a British study has found.
Not only does working up a sweat on an empty stomach burn off more body fat – helping you lose those extra inches around the waist – it also triggers a bigger reduction in artery-clogging blood fats.
Although the benefits of exercise are well-known, people have been unsure about whether it is better to do it on an empty stomach or a full one.
Dr Jason Gill, who conducted the research at Glasgow University, said that while exercise in itself is good, any done before breakfast may be extra beneficial, because it forces the body to rely on its stores of fat for energy.
“When people talk about losing weight, they really mean losing fat,” he added.
Ten men made three visits to his laboratory at the university’s Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences, and were given breakfast each time.
On the first visit, the men didn’t do any exercise. On another, they did an hour’s brisk walk ahead of breakfast and on the third they did the walk after breakfast.
Those who exercised burnt off more fat than those who simply sat around. And those who did their walk before breakfast used up 33 percent more fat than those who exercised after eating.
Tests revealed they also experienced a bigger drop in the blood fats that raise the risk of heart disease, the British Journal of Nutrition reports.
While the men only did a brisk walk, more strenuous activity can also be safely carried out on an empty stomach, Dr Gill added. This is because the body has enough reserves for about 90 minutes to two hours of exercise.
However, those who can’t bear the thought of delaying breakfast shouldn’t despair.
Dr Gill said: “The biggest difference is between doing nothing and doing something.
“If you are going to do something, then there is a slight advantage in doing it in a fasted state. But if you find you keel over because you can’t do exercise before you have your slice of toast, then do it afterwards. You are still going to get a huge benefit.”
Either way, however, weight loss will still likely be a slow process. Those who exercise before breakfast only burnt off around a tenth of a pound more fat than the men who had a relaxing morning.
Dr Gill said: “If they did an hour’s brisk walk every day for ten days or so, they would lose about a pound, which is about as fast as you can really expect to lose weight.” - Daily Mail