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High-fibre breakfast enhances fat burning during exercise

Thursday, April 23, 2009 Posted by Peter Janiszewski, PhD

Just last week I posted results from a study which suggest that having a breakfast high in fibre may be more satiating for a smaller number of calories, and thus may be one important way to help manage hunger and thus caloric intake. Today I came across another new study which suggests that a breakfast high in fibre and with a low glycemic index (the degree to which an ingested food causes a spike in blood glucose levels) may enhance fat oxidation during a subsequent bout of exercise.

In this small study published in the May issue of the Journal of Nutrition, 8 young and sedentary women participated in a randomized cross-over experiment in which on 2 separate days they consumed 1 of 2 breakfasts: both equal in carbohydrates, fat, protein and total calories, but with one being high-fibre/low-glycemic index while the other being low-fibre/high-glycemic index.

Three hours after the breakfast, the women were instructed to perform 60 minutes of fairly low intensity exercise (~50% of maximal oxygen uptake) during which their fuel (fat, carbohydrate, protein) oxidation was measured using indirect calorimetry.

The authors found that exercising after the high-fibre/low-glycemic index breakfast caused a doubling of the absolute total grams of fat burned during the bout in contrast to that seen post a low-fibre/high-glycemic index breakfast.

The authors suggest that while it has long been held that exercising in the morning in the fasted state (i.e. before breakfast) results in the greatest fat oxidation, a breakfast high in fibre may be a decent compromise for individuals, such as myself, who find it difficult to exercise on an empty stomach.

Yet another reason to dispense with the Fruit Loops...

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Stevenson, E., Astbury, N., Simpson, E., Taylor, M., & Macdonald, I. (2009). Fat Oxidation during Exercise and Satiety during Recovery Are Increased following a Low-Glycemic Index Breakfast in Sedentary Women Journal of Nutrition, 139 (5), 890-897 DOI: 10.3945/jn.108.101956

Related posts:

1. Fibre - The breakfast of champions!
2. Arthur's Super Juice: Get Your Prescription Today!
3. The Importance of Early Childhood Nutrition

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7 Response to "High-fibre breakfast enhances fat burning during exercise"

  1. JessD Said,

    Hi There,

    Great post!
    I'm curious to know what oatmeal you've been eating in the morning. I've tried finding one high in fiber because I really like hot cereal but none top the fiber I can get in cereals like Fiber One. Can you recommend one? How much fiber do you aim for in the morning?

    Posted on May 3, 2009 at 8:02 PM

  2. Peter Janiszewski, PhD (Cand.), MSc Said,


    Thanks for the comment.

    I must admit that my Quaker Oats oatmeal only has about 3 grams of fiber per 1/3 cup serving. I throw in some almonds and raisins (or fresh berries, when available) in there as well.

    I just checked the Fiber One website, and you are right - they pack a total of 14 grams of fiber in 1/2 cup. Personally, I'm not sure I could handle that much fiber in the morning:) And I really do like the hot oatmeal to start the day.

    I will investigate and see if I can't find another oatmeal with more fiber - thanks for brining that to my attention. If you find a good alternative - please pass it on.


    Posted on May 3, 2009 at 9:13 PM

  3. JessD Said,

    Thanks for the response Peter. I'll keep looking for high-fibre oatmeal. I'm a patient of Dr. Wharton's (which is how I found out about your wonderful blog). My daily fibre target is 30g so it's pretty hard to hit it if I don't get a good part of it at breakfast. I have discovered some high-fibre products made by a company named Vitalicious. I've tried them and they just seem too delicious to be as healthy as they claim. I would love to know what you think. Their website is

    Thanks again,


    Posted on May 4, 2009 at 1:22 AM

  4. Ken Leebow Said,

    It's not just for breakfast...use a high-fiber tortilla wrap around your lunch -- instead of bread. It's high in fiber and low in calories.

    And of course, snack on your high-fiber cereal during the day.

    More details in my diet and healthy lifestyle book.

    Posted on November 4, 2009 at 2:38 PM

  5. Nicole Said,

    Add raspberries to your oats -- 8g fiber per 100g (3.5oz) of berries. It can be a lot of berries if they're fresh, but I often nuke frozen ones into a sauce and pour it over my hot oats. Delicious :)

    Posted on November 5, 2009 at 1:23 PM

  6. Anonymous Said,

    Barley is one of the lowest GI grains, and there is a barley cereal, BG Life Heart Balance, that has 6 grams of fiber per serving. I believe it is only available through the company. The website is and the phone # is 888-238-2458.

    Posted on January 5, 2010 at 12:49 AM

  7. Anonymous Said,

    Is 50% max O2 uptake not an excessively low intensity for a healthy person to work out at? Would it mean compromising fitness gains for fat oxidation?

    Posted on January 27, 2010 at 7:34 PM


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We are PhD students in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. Our research focuses on the relationships between obesity, physical activity, and health risk. This blog is our attempt to consider the many "cures" for obesity that we read about on a daily basis. Enjoy.


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