Lipid metabolism links nutrient-exercise timing to insulin sensitivity in men classified as overweight or obese. Breakfast, exercise and metabolic health

Rob Edinburgh, Helen Bradley, N-F Abdullah, Scott Robinson, Oliver Chrzanowski-Smith, Jean-Philippe Walhin, Sophie Joanisse, Konstantinos Manolopoulos, Andrew Philp, Aaron Hengist, Adrian Chabowski, Frances Brodsky, Francoise Koumanov, James Betts, Dylan Thompson, Gareth Wallis, Javier Gonzalez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (SciVal)


Context: Pre-exercise nutrient availability alters acute metabolic responses to exercise, which could modulate training responsiveness. Objective: To assess acute and chronic effects of exercise performed before versus after nutrient ingestion on whole-body and intramuscular lipid utilization and postprandial glucose metabolism. Design: (1) Acute, randomized, crossover design (Acute Study); (2) 6-week, randomized, controlled design (Training Study). Setting: General community. Participants: Men with overweight/obesity (mean ± standard deviation, body mass index: 30.2 ± 3.5 kg·m -2 for Acute Study, 30.9 ± 4.5 kg·m -2 for Training Study). Interventions: Moderate-intensity cycling performed before versus after mixed-macronutrient breakfast (Acute Study) or carbohydrate (Training Study) ingestion. Results: Acute Study -exercise before versus after breakfast consumption increased net intramuscular lipid utilization in type I (net change: -3.44 ± 2.63% versus 1.44 ± 4.18% area lipid staining, P < 0.01) and type II fibers (-1.89 ± 2.48% versus 1.83 ± 1.92% area lipid staining, P < 0.05). Training Study -postprandial glycemia was not differentially affected by 6 weeks of exercise training performed before versus after carbohydrate intake (P > 0.05). However, postprandial insulinemia was reduced with exercise training performed before but not after carbohydrate ingestion (P = 0.03). This resulted in increased oral glucose insulin sensitivity (25 ± 38 vs -21 ± 32 mL·min -1·m -2; P = 0.01), associated with increased lipid utilization during exercise (r = 0.50, P = 0.02). Regular exercise before nutrient provision also augmented remodeling of skeletal muscle phospholipids and protein content of the glucose transport protein GLUT4 (P < 0.05). Conclusions: Experiments investigating exercise training and metabolic health should consider nutrient-exercise timing, and exercise performed before versus after nutrient intake (ie, in the fasted state) may exert beneficial effects on lipid utilization and reduce postprandial insulinemia.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberdgz104
Pages (from-to)660-676
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism
Issue number3
Early online date19 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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