Should You Eat Breakfast Before Exercise In The Morning? | Men's Health Magazine Australia

Should You Eat Breakfast Before Exercise In The Morning?

Eat too close to exercise and chances are you won’t be able to keep it down. Don’t fuel up before hand and you may just hit the wall. So that begs the question: should you eat breakfast before exercise?

A study of young fit men conducted by the University of Bath in England and other institutions found that giving breakfast a miss before exercise can actually reduce how much we eat during the remainder of the day. 

Recruiting 12 healthy, active men, researchers had the participants work out in the university’s exercise lab three mornings a week.

On the first morning, they ate a healthy 480-calorie bowl of oatmeal before resting.

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On the second, they consumed the same meal but this time, moderately exercises on a bike for an hour.

For the last morning they skipped breakfast, performed at the same intensity on the bike and then ate finally at lunch. 

On all three occasions, they ate as much or little as they wanted for lunch at the university’s lab.

When the volunteers headed home, they were handed a food basket. The researchers told them only to eat from the basket, returning any unused foods. That way they could easily track their daily calorie intake. 

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Obviously, consuming breakfast and not eating was always going to result in a calorie surplus (roughly 480 calories) for the day.

However, most interestingly, scientists found a difference between consuming and not consuming breakfast before exercise. 

Eating porridge before exercise resulted in an energy balance for the day with calories burnt and consumed roughly equalling each other out. 

When volunteers skipped breakfast, they depleted the body’s carb storage and ended up eating more than usual at lunch. Interestingly, after a big lunch, their appetite declined for the rest of the day and ultimately, they ended up with an energy deficit of nearly 400 calories.

The team of researchers suggest that these results could help people looking to lose weight. However, they also agree that they would need to use the same experiment on participants who are overweight, older, out of shape, female or prefer a meatier breakfast like bacon and eggs. 

The research also does however contradict previous findings that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and it’s important to remember that each person responds differently to different eating habits.

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