High-fibre breakfast enhances fat burning during exercise

Last year I posted results from a study which suggest that having a breakfast high in fibre may be more satiating for a smaller number of calories, and thus may be one important way to help manage hunger and thus caloric intake. Today I came across another new study which suggests that a breakfast high in fibre and with a low glycemic index (the degree to which an ingested food causes a spike in blood glucose levels) may enhance fat oxidation during a subsequent bout of exercise.

In this small study published in the Journal of Nutrition, 8 young and sedentary women participated in a randomized cross-over experiment in which on 2 separate days they consumed 1 of 2 breakfasts: both equal in carbohydrates, fat, protein and total calories, but with one being high-fibre/low-glycemic index while the other being low-fibre/high-glycemic index.

Three hours after the breakfast, the women were instructed to perform 60 minutes of fairly low intensity exercise (~50% of maximal oxygen uptake) during which their fuel (fat, carbohydrate, protein) oxidation was measured using indirect calorimetry.

The authors found that exercising after the high-fibre/low-glycemic index breakfast caused a doubling of the absolute total grams of fat burned during the bout in contrast to that seen post a low-fibre/high-glycemic index breakfast.

The authors suggest that while it has long been held that exercising in the morning in the fasted state (i.e. before breakfast) results in the greatest fat oxidation, a breakfast high in fibre may be a decent compromise for individuals, such as myself, who find it difficult to exercise on an empty stomach.

Yet another reason to dispense with the Fruit Loops...


Stevenson, E., Astbury, N., Simpson, E., Taylor, M., & Macdonald, I. (2009). Fat Oxidation during Exercise and Satiety during Recovery Are Increased following a Low-Glycemic Index Breakfast in Sedentary Women Journal of Nutrition, 139 (5), 890-897 DOI: 10.3945/jn.108.101956

This post was originally published on Obesitypanacea.com on April 23, 2009.

More like this

My favorite breakfast is either steel-cut oats or barley. It does last longer and is more filling than box (processed) cereal are.

My breakfast is usually my homemade granola, sometimes with fruit. A bowl of granola will keep me going for two or three hours on my bike, before I start to feel hungry again.

I'm a fan of porridge made from large flake rolled oats and ground flax seed (3 min in the microwave) with frozen berries. Over 11g of fibre and it keeps me full all morning :)

Most mornings I have a two-bran muffin for breakfast; I keep batter in the fridge so I can bake up a batch whenever I want them.

Once I sent some with my then-sergeant wife so her troops could enjoy some: they were National Guard in the morning, but by that afternoon, they were regular army . . . . <>

What if you exercise in the evening? I wouldn't exercise in the morning if plied me with diamonds and ponies. Does eating a high-fiber late lunch (within 3 hours of exercising) help burn fat more efficiently? Or does it just have to be breakfast and a morning workout?

"The authors suggest that while it has long been held that exercising in the morning in the fasted state (i.e. before breakfast) results in the greatest fat oxidation, a breakfast high in "

does the phrase "it has long been held" mean it has long been shown by studies? i've read about this in fitness forums, but i never read a scientific explanation. care to explain a little bit?

Just how much fibre is "high fibre"? (As in how much of the daily intake would be recommended at breakfast?)

Also @Ken
When you say "long-term weight loss" are you refering to keeping weight off for long periods or an extended period of losing weight?

Hi all;
A fatal flaw was that they failed to have any representative posts ready to go up when the blog went live.

Had they done so, and had the content been surprisingly acceptable, the reception might have been better.

Instead we get this "Hi! Welcome to ShillBlog!" (crickets) and everyone, quite reasonably, expects the worst.

Very interesting theory. This might explain some of the benefit for marathoners who each oatmeal and/or bagels (without all the spreads and jams) before competing in their 26.2 mile race - as fat provides more fuel and less negative oxidative stress (and slightly higher pH). Any other opinions?

I love my Oats every morning

Obesity is extremely complex with the knowns being far less than the unknowns.

Genuine science always admits uncertainty and vast unknowns. The Caloric Hypothesis is dead. It has no predictive value and mountains of contradictory evidence against it.

Normal weight obesity is one example. Science does not even undertsand the chemical behavior of fat cell receptors.