People who are working out and looking to lose weight face a common conundrum around skipping meals. Skip a meal and you're cutting your calorie intake. Skip a meal and you're also skipping out on some vital energy supply, and it could lead to overeating down the line.
Scientists from the University of Bath last month published a very interesting study that sheds some more light on this ongoing debate.
The study looked at 12 fit 23-year-old's and their eating and fitness habits over a three-day period. On day one, the test subjects ate a bowl of porridge, rested for a few hours, and then worked out. On day two, they ate a bowl of porridge, rested for an hour and then worked out. On day three, they skipped the porridge and did an exercise session, and did not eat until lunch.
It is the findings relating to that third day that raised eyebrows for researchers. They found that the subjects had a massive appetite after working out on an empty stomach, as you'd expect. Yet as the day went on, the subjects stopped snacking and ultimately maintained an 'energy deficit of 400 calories'.
The study concludes the following:
Pre-exercise breakfast omission is not fully compensated for by energy intake, and is not compensated for at all by nonexercise energy expenditure postexercise, creating a more negative 24-h energy balance compared with when breakfast is consumed before exercise
Even if the sample size is very small, there's a lot to chew on here, if you can pardon the pun. While working out on an empty stomach in the morning and skipping breakfast entirely might be gruelling, there is evidence here that it might help you lose weight while you exercise.
You can ready the whole study here and a New York Times article about it here.