Fight Fat with Breakfast
What to eat to before your next morning workout.
By Ana Mantica
Researchers assessed the rate of fat burn among eight healthy women after they ate two breakfasts: muesli with milk, peaches, yogurt and apple juice on one day; cornflakes with skim milk, white bread with margarine and jam and an energy drink on another day. Both meals contained similar amounts of calories. The first breakfast (muesli) was a low-glycemic-index (GI) meal, the second was a high-GI meal. The glycemic index ranks foods based on how much they raise blood sugar. Lower-GI foods produce smaller spikes than higher-GI foods. Generally, foods that contain protein, fat and/or fiber—and are digested more slowly—fall lower on the GI scale than those that consist mostly of carbohydrate (e.g., white bread).
On the days when the women ate the low-GI breakfast, they burned nearly twice as much fat during a 60-minute walk as they did on the days when they ate the high-GI meal. Here’s why: because the muesli (low-GI) breakfast was more slowly digested, it didn’t spike blood-glucose levels as high as the cornflake (high-GI) breakfast did. In turn, insulin levels didn’t spike as high either—which probably explains why the muesli-eating women burned more fat, says Ian MacDonald, Ph.D., director of research at the University of Nottingham Medical School. Insulin plays a role in signaling your body to store fat. So, lower levels of insulin might help you to burn fat.
Bottom line: If you’re looking to burn more fat, pick low-GI foods, such as oatmeal, over high-GI foods, such as white toast, before your workout.