For years, we've been getting advice on eating and working out that's been lifted directly from the bodybuilding-heavy gym culture of the 60's and from the training manuals of serious competitive athletes. That's why we're told to eat 6 meals a day, have a high-carb snack directly after working out ("to refuel the muscles") and to carb load every time we go for a run.
Turns out that advice is great if you're training for a marathon or for the Mr. Olympia, but it's precisely the wrong way to go for the average exerciser, especially those looking to lose weight.
If you're trying to lose weight, nix the nosh.
In one recent study, volunteers were given high-carb mini-meal immediately after exercising on a treadmill for an hour. Insulin efficiency- the ability to clear sugar from the bloodstream- was completely wiped out by those who had the high-carb drink.
A separate study tested high-carb mini-meals against low-carb ones and found that if you're going to eat after working out, a low-carb meal does the least damage.
" If people are going to exercise to benefit their health, they should not be eating back the calories immediately- or within a couple of hours- of finishing", said Barry Braun, PhD, director of the Energy Metabolism Lab at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. " It seems as though giving people back carbohydrates blunts or diminishes the exercise benefit".
Remember, you'll still get the health benefits of exercising whether you eat afterwards or not.
But if you're trying to lose or maintain weight, it's another story.