A new study highlights a couple big potential benefits from eating breakfast: burning more carbs during exercise and ramping up one’s metabolism ahead of the day’s next meal. The research comes from the University of Bath’s Department for Health, where researchers worked with colleagues from other universities to study the effect of eating breakfast.
The rise of intermittent fasting as a popular dieting option has raised questions over whether it is better to exercise before or after one’s daily eating period. According to the new study, it is better to eat breakfast before exercising, as it increases carbohydrate burn when the exercise takes place. This is compared to people who skip breakfast.
The study involved a breakfast of porridge with milk; this meal was consumed by volunteers two hours before exercising. A separate group ate breakfast and then rested for three hours. After resting or exercising, researchers tested the volunteers’ blood glucose levels, as well as muscle glycogen levels, to determine the effects of the meals.
The findings include an increased rate of carb burn during exercise after breakfast, as well as faster digestion of and metabolism of food consumed post-exercise. Elaborating on the findings is Department of Health PhD student Rob Edinburg, who said:
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.