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Health Team

Study: Exercise before breakfast helps weight loss

Posted December 29, 2010 5:30 p.m. EST
Updated December 29, 2010 6:32 p.m. EST

— Paul Beirne said he only consumes a strong cup of black coffee before he works out in the morning.

“I can’t do cardio if I eat anything before I come to the gym, but I have a big breakfast afterwards,” he said.

A new study in the Journal of Physiology suggests exercising in the morning before breakfast might be the fastest way to lose weight.

Researchers in Belgium followed three groups of young men for six weeks. The first group ate a fatty breakfast and did not work out. The second group had a carbohydrate-packed meal before working out. The third group worked out first then ate the same carb-filled meal.

The group that ate but didn't work out packed on six pounds. The group that ate before working out gained about three pounds.

Those who ate after their workout gained almost no weight.

“The conclusion to this seems to be that if you do not eat breakfast and you are fit, you’re going to access fat as a fuel source for a workout,” personal trainer David Harris said.

For people who don’t like putting breakfast off, some fitness experts recommend eating a little something to provide energy and get the most out of the work out.

“You should not be eating a heavy carbohydrate-filled breakfast, but a piece of fruit would do you good,” Harris said.

Billy Lopresto said he needs some fuel in the tank to work out.

“You have to have some sort of carbohydrate in the morning, otherwise, you’ll fall apart,” he said.

The study also showed that people who waited to eat until after their workout had a lower blood sugar level, reducing their risk of diabetes.