Marsh column: Body performs better with breakfast

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 7, 2011

To eat or not to eat, that is the question. Over the years, there has been study after study done to prove to eat or to wait until you are done exercising.
One study mentions it burns more fat when you don’t eat breakfast and another says the opposite. Personally, I have to eat before I exercise. I can’t function, let alone think when I don’t eat, and I am not very pleasant to be around when I am hungry.
The latest study was done to compare differences in fat metabolism between people who ate breakfast and people who didn’t. They also checked if it affected oxygen consumption.
Both groups did the same workout, which was a 36 minutes run on the treadmill. The ones who ate breakfast had a lot better workout compared to the ones who did not eat breakfast. What was most interesting is that 12 hours after their workout, their oxygen consumption was still higher in the group that ate breakfast, and the respiratory-to-exchange ratio indicated more fat utilization.
Even 24 hours after the exercise the difference was still significant. So, eating breakfast makes you perform better and burn more fat.
It surely works for me. So, the advice after the study is to eat a small meal before exercise. My advice it to eat at least two hours before your workout when your breakfast is more substantial.
Light snacks can be eaten shortly before your workout. Light or non-fat yogurts can really do the trick.
Just because you eat breakfast does not mean you can skip a meal, which I know can be very hard.
If smaller meals throughout the day works for you, watch your calories closely so you don’t add a lot of extra calories to your diet.
When you are looking at which snacks to pick, watch the calories, sugar, fat, sodium per serving. They can really sneak up on you.
These are my favorite meal snacks:
• Dannon Activa vanilla yogurt. (110 calories.)
• Greek yogurt with fruit on bottom. (About 130 calories.)
• Apples.
• Bananas.
• Grapes.
• Oranges.
• Kashi granola bars. (Honey almond flax, 140 calories.)
• Nature Valley roasted nut crunch. (Peanut crunch, 190 calories.)
Ester H. Marsh, ACSM Cpt Health and Fitness Director JF Hurley Family YMCA.