A new study suggests your mother may have been wrong about one thing: it’s not always better to eat breakfast before leaving the house, provided your first stop is the gym.
Researchers at the University of Bath in the United Kingdom found men who exercised on an empty stomach burned more fat than those who ate breakfast first.
The reason is because without any fuel from food, your body has to use stored carbohydrates for energy. Those are depleted quickly, forcing your body to then use fat. Burning that fat helped make the men’s muscles more responsive to insulin, which reduces the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
One thing it did not do — though — was result in any weight loss. Exercising on an empty stomach appears to make you healthier, but not skinnier. The study only looked at 30 participants, so more research is needed to validate the results.
Experts say if you skip breakfast before working out, be sure to eat a meal within 30 minutes of exercising. If you don’t, your body may start to break down muscle tissue.