The bottom line on eating before exercise.

Q: Can exercising on an empty stomach help me burn more fat during my workout? A: Popular fitness books over the past decade have advocated the idea that exercising on an empty stomach forces the body to dip into fat stores for fuel instead of the carbohydrates readily available from a pre-workout meal or snack. But research shows that exercising in this way doesn’t offer any benefit, and may even work against you. A review of years of research on the subject published in Strength and Conditioning Journal concluded that the body burns roughly the same amount of fat regardless of whether you eat before a workout. But you’re likely to lose muscle by exercising in a depleted state, the report found, and without fuel to aid the workout, exercise intensity and overall calorie burn will be reduced. One of the studies reviewed in that report showed that about 10 percent of the calories burned by cyclists who trained with nothing in their stomachs came from protein, including lost muscle. —SARI GREAVES, expert, Registered dietitian, registered nurse Nutrition Director, Step Ahead Weight Loss Center, New York Go back to All the Answers, September 2013 CLICK HERE  TO CHECK OUT ALL THE ANSWERS ARCHIVE Brought to you by: Spry Living