Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

What you eat after exercise matters

Date:
January 29, 2010
Source:
American Physiological Society
Summary:
Many of the health benefits of aerobic exercise are due to the most recent exercise session (rather than weeks, months and even years of exercise training), and the nature of these benefits can be greatly affected by the food we eat afterwards.

Studies show that differences in what you eat after exercise produce different effects on the body's metabolism.
Credit: iStockphoto/Christine Glade

Many of the health benefits of aerobic exercise are due to the most recent exercise session (rather than weeks, months and even years of exercise training), and the nature of these benefits can be greatly affected by the food we eat afterwards, according to a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology.

Related Articles


"Differences in what you eat after exercise produce different effects on the body's metabolism," said the study's senior author, Jeffrey F. Horowitz of the University of Michigan. This study follows up on several previous studies that demonstrate that many health benefits of exercise are transient: one exercise session produces benefits to the body that taper off, generally within hours or a few days.

"Many of the improvements in metabolic health associated with exercise stem largely from the most recent session of exercise, rather than from an increase in 'fitness' per se," Dr. Horowitz said. "But exercise doesn't occur in a vacuum, and it is very important to look at both the effects of exercise and what you're eating after exercise."

Specifically, the study found that exercise enhanced insulin sensitivity, particularly when meals eaten after the exercise session contained relatively low carbohydrate content. Enhanced insulin sensitivity means that it is easier for the body to take up sugar from the blood stream into tissues like muscles, where it can be stored or used as fuel. Impaired insulin sensitivity (i.e., "insulin resistance") is a hallmark of Type II diabetes, as well as being a major risk factor for other chronic diseases, such as heart disease.

Interestingly, when the research subjects in this study ate relatively low-calorie meals after exercise, this did not improve insulin sensitivity any more than when they ate enough calories to match what they expended during exercise. This suggests that you don't have to starve yourself after exercise to still reap some of the important health benefits.

The paper, "Energy deficit after exercise augments lipid mobilization but does not contribute to the exercise-induced increase in insulin sensitivity," appears in the online edition of the journal. The authors are Sean A. Newsom, Simon Schenk, Kristin M. Thomas, Matthew P. Harber, Nicolas D. Knuth, Haila Goldenberg and Dr. Horowitz. All are at the University of Michigan. The American Physiological Society (APS: www.the-aps.org) published the research.

Study Design

The study included nine healthy sedentary men, all around 28-30 years old. They spent four separate sessions in the Michigan Clinical Research Unit in the University of Michigan Hospital. Each session lasted for approximately 29 hours. They fasted overnight before attending each session, which began in the morning.

The four hospital visits differed primarily by the meals eaten after exercise. The following describes the four different visits:

  1. They did not exercise and ate meals to match their daily calorie expenditure. This was the control trial.
  2. They exercised for approximately 90 min at moderate intensity, and then ate meals that matched their caloric expenditure. The carbohydrate, fat, and protein content of these meals were also appropriately balanced to match their expenditure.
  3. They exercised for approximately 90 min at moderate intensity and then ate meals with relatively low carbohydrate content, but they ate enough total calories to match their calorie expenditure. This reduced-carbohydrate meal contained about 200 grams of carbohydrate, less than half the carbohydrate content of the balanced meal.
  4. They exercised for approximately 90 min at moderate intensity and then ate relatively low-calorie meals, that is, meals that provided less energy than was expended (about one-third fewer calories than the meals in the other two exercise trials). These meals contained a relatively high carbohydrate content to replace the carbohydrate "burned" during exercise.

The exercise was performed on a stationary bicycle and a treadmill. The order in which the participants did the trials was randomized.

In the three exercise trials, there was a trend for an increase in insulin sensitivity. However, when participants ate less carbohydrate after exercise, this enhanced insulin sensitivity significantly more. Although weight loss is important for improving metabolic health in overweight and obese people, these results suggests that people can still reap some important health benefits from exercise without undereating or losing weight, Dr. Horowitz said.

The study also reinforces the growing body of evidence that each exercise session can affect the body's physiology and also that differences in what you eat after exercise can produce different physiological changes.

Next Steps

The research team is now performing experiments with obese people, aimed at better identifying the minimum amount of exercise that will still improve insulin sensitivity at least into the next day.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Physiological Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Physiological Society. "What you eat after exercise matters." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 January 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100128122142.htm>.
American Physiological Society. (2010, January 29). What you eat after exercise matters. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100128122142.htm
American Physiological Society. "What you eat after exercise matters." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100128122142.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) An emergency room doctor who recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus. He's quarantined in a hospital. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins