Exercise: The best time is after a meal, not before

When’s the best time to exercise?  Despite the general belief that it’s best to exercise before a meal and on an ‘empty stomach’, the truth is – of course – the very reverse if you want to lose weight.

Exercise boosts hormones that suppress appetite and, as a happy consequence, you eat less when you next sit down for a meal.

But why should it have a more positive impact if you exercise after a meal instead of before?  To find out, researchers from Surrey University monitored 12 volunteers who were given the same breakfast, and half exercised an hour after eating, while the rest sat quietly.

The exercise group burned nearly three times as many calories as the others and, although they ate more at the next meal, their overall calorie intake was less.
They also said they did not feel very hungry when it came to mealtime.  This may be because hormones called PYY, GLP-1 and PP, which tell the brain when the stomach is full, increase during and immediately after exercise.
(Source: Journal of Endocrinology, 2007; 193: 251-8).

E-news broadcast 7 June 2007 No.366

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