Wednesday, July 17

Is there any advantage to exercising on an empty stomach?

Surely you already know that a sedentary life is the enemy of health. They probably also believe that, when exercising, you must first eat – ‘refill’ your energy stores – and then move. And they are not wrong, because that is what is usually recommended. However, performing physical activity on an empty stomach could have some advantages in apparently healthy people whose metabolism is beginning to change due to a sedentary lifestyle. Moving on an empty stomach is a popular trend that we analyze in this article from a health point of view, not with a sports performance focus. But before getting into the matter, let’s point out that this practice should only be considered if we are going to do moderate physical exercises such as walking, doing housework, practicing yoga or any other low-intensity activity. Regarding fasting, it is suggested to carry out the exercise a few hours after eating (in the morning, before breakfast) or just before the next meal. Designed to hunt on an empty stomach. The modality of exercising without eating a bite is scientifically supported by the physiological cycle of action-reward-rest. According to evolutionary medicine, humans are designed to move (hunt) on an empty stomach. Or, in other words, to walk long distances on an empty stomach in search of food. The desire to eat generates orexin, a neuropeptide that keeps us awake and stimulates movement. Furthermore, orexins have been discovered to be related to certain regions of the brain, which explains the famous phrase ‘you are smarter than hunger’. That is, the body is prepared to remain alert and move in search of food with a slight state of hunger. On the other hand, when we eat and get the reward, we get sleepy: the body asks to rest, digest and take advantage of all the nutrients. This physiological rhythm of action-reward-rest was defined years ago by researchers Manu Chakravarthy and Frank Boothy, and today it is considered a possible way of intervention to improve health. The Plague of Metabolic Syndrome To explain its potential benefits, we must begin by explaining what metabolic syndrome is. This is characterized by progressive changes in metabolism related to lifestyle habits such as stress, sedentary lifestyle and the intake of ultra-processed food, although there may also be a genetic predisposition. Over time, these bad habits can lead to obesity, hypertension, dyslipidemia (high cholesterol) or type 2 diabetes, risk factors for premature death in the developed world. According to the World Health Organization, about 40 million people die each year from these causes. Metabolic syndrome begins to develop long before the appearance of clinical symptoms; When these manifest themselves, the changes are already difficult to reverse. Therefore, what we do today will determine our health tomorrow. Enhances metabolic flexibility The first advantage of exercise on an empty stomach is that it can improve metabolic flexibility, the name given to our ability to produce energy through different pathways. Because depending on the intensity of the exercise, the body can use fat or glucose as an energy source, although this process is quite complex. A sedentary lifestyle and poor diet can cause a loss of this flexibility, making it difficult to use fats as a source of energy. People with metabolic diseases often have problems carrying out beta-oxidation of fatty deposits and tend to rely primarily on glucose. Desktop Code Image for mobile, amp and app Mobile code AMP Code APP Code Well, moving at moderate or low intensities on an empty stomach would force the body to mobilize fat reserves, which favors the maintenance of this energy pathway. Thus, exercise on an empty stomach can progressively improve the general state of health, promoting metabolic flexibility and also generating anti-inflammatory processes. Helps improve insulin sensitivity Secondly, it is important to consider the role of insulin, the hormone responsible for storing blood glucose in the body’s stores. A prolonged rise in insulin can make it difficult to obtain energy from fat, as it can block this metabolic pathway. Thus, when we take a lot of glucose, the body tends to adapt, prioritizing its use over fats. A sedentary lifestyle and frequent consumption of foods rich in saturated fats and carbohydrates gradually increase insulin levels, which can lead to resistance to the hormone and the development of diseases such as type 2 diabetes, among others. . . Moving on an empty stomach can be a beneficial strategy to reduce blood sugar levels, since muscle contraction during fasting activates the GLUT-4 protein, which facilitates glucose uptake without the need for insulin. Furthermore, by reducing the availability of glucose after a period of fasting, the practice of physical activity encourages the use of fats as an energy substrate, which can contribute to the improvement of lipid metabolism and general health. It can reduce inflammation. Here it is worth remembering that adipose tissue, or fat, is a generator of inflammation, so it is necessary to mobilize it. Low-grade inflammation processes underlie many metabolic diseases; obesity itself the genders. Furthermore, this inflammation can reach the brain, producing a state of neuroinflammation that increases perceived fatigue and decreases levels of dopamine, the hormone that motivates us to do things. Moderate exercise is known to help reduce systemic inflammation, but doing it just before or shortly after eating additionally helps to modulate postprandial inflammation, which occurs in response to food intake. Who can do it? Considering all of the above, when is it beneficial to perform physical activity on an empty stomach? At the moment, it does not seem to offer extra advantages in those individuals who lead an active life, exercise regularly and maintain a healthy diet. However, it could be occasionally useful for those who begin to experience metabolic imbalances. People with underlying health conditions should perform this practice only under medical supervision, and it is not recommended for those individuals suffering from diabetes, hypoglycemia, or hypertension. In short, this tool cannot be ruled out, but the basis of health continues to be a healthy and varied diet and staying active. This article was originally published on The Conversation. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Beatriz Carpallo Porcar Professor in the degrees of Physiotherapy and Nursing, Universidad San Jorge.