Working out before breakfast has 'profound' effects on overall health

A new study from researchers at the University of Bath and the University of Birmingham shed light on which is better: eating breakfast before or after a morning workout? Though there isn't a solid rule about which is preferable, the study found that working out before eating breakfast may drastically reduce one's odds of developing two common and serious health conditions.

People who have a regular sleep schedule end up fasting overnight, which means they go several hours or longer between their last meal of the previous day and their first meal of the current day. During this time, blood sugar levels fall, resulting in lowered levels of the hormone that regulates blood sugar, insulin.

Exercising before breakfast means the activity will take place while insulin levels are lower, which the study reveals is a good thing: this resulted in double the amount of body fat burned compared to people who exercised after breakfast. This didn't result in any differences in weight loss but did have some other notable effects.

Based on the six-week study, the researchers found that exercise before breakfast drastically improved the body's ability to control blood sugar levels due to an increase in insulin sensitivity. By improving blood sugar control, the team notes that working out before eating breakfast may cut one's risk of developing cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes.

The profound improvement in health was observed despite both groups of participants experiencing the same level of weight loss and fitness increase. The study involved only men this time around and lasted for the duration of six weeks, indicating that getting one's workout in before the first meal of the day may offer ample benefits despite zero change in effort.