Newsletter – Do you need to eat in the morning before exercise to burn fat?

Newsletter – Do you need to eat in the morning before exercise to burn fat?

Do you need to eat in the morning before exercise to burn fat?

The answer to this question really depends on the goal of your exercise session. If you are an athlete training or competing in an individual event or a team player, it is best to eat prior to exercise. This will make a big difference to your performance. It is advisable to eat 2-3 hours prior to exercise because this allows time for your stomach to empty although sometimes this is difficult if you are training early in the morning. If this is the case make sure that your meal the night before is high in carbohydrates like rice and pasta. If you are unable to eat early in the morning try a sports drink or Sustagen Sport® to top up your carbohydrate stores.

If you are trying to lose body fat and your exercise session is not performance driven but aimed at fat loss and fitness, then eating after exercise is fine. Exercising before eating will result in a greater proportion of fat being burned compared to doing the same workout after eating a carbohydrate food. Having said that, it is important not to skip meals because fresh air does not give you energy to exercise. Some people will find that eating before exercise will give them more energy to perform better which enables them to burn more kilojoules.

The thing is, any type of exercise burns body fat and the most important aspect about exercise is that it improves your overall health and reduces your risk of heart disease and other lifestyle diseases. Of course it also reduces your stress levels and makes you feel good.

The legendary aviation pioneer, Amelia Earhart, summed it up beautifully.

“The most effective way to do it, is to do it”


Movies and Popcorn anyone?

For those of you who love to grab some popcorn on the way into the movies, it may be time to reassess your choices. Popcorn usually comes in three sizes at the movies, small, medium and large, although I consider the small version to be huge! The table below shows a comparison of commercially prepared popcorn like you will find at the movies, regular air-popped corn (no added fat) and ‘Lite’ Microwave popcorn per 100 grams. 100 grams of popcorn equates to slightly less than the small box you would find at the movies. A more appropriate serving size would be 50 grams.


As you can see, there is a massive difference in salt content between the different varieties and the kilojoule content is significantly less than the commercial varieties. Air popped refers to any popcorn that has been cooked without fat, such as in a saucepan, air-popper or microwave. My childhood memory of popcorn is standing by the stove while mum cooked it in the saucepan and this is the plain popcorn that you still find in the supermarket in a plastic bag. Instead of cooking in a saucepan try the microwave, it’s quicker and doesn’t burn. Having said that, don’t walk away and leave it either!

The beauty of popcorn is that it is classified as a wholegrain, is high in fibre at 14.5 grams per 100g and it takes a while to eat. The Glycaemic Index of popcorn will differ depending on the brand but is approximately 55, making it a moderate Glycaemic Index carbohydrate and therefore providing you with a longer lasting energy source than many other high sugar snacks. It is also a convenient snack at home or work as almost everyone has a microwave.

Let me know what you want to know!

I hope you have enjoyed this August edition of FoodBytes and have found it informative! If you have any burning nutrition questions that you want me to tackle in September, feel free to drop me an email:

I look forward to hearing from you!

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