Exercise protects fat tissue from changes in inflammation levels and fat metabolism caused by a week of overeating, a new University of Michigan study finds.
Previous studies indicate that as little as one week of overeating can impair blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity. But while exercise has been shown to have a protective effect against metabolic impairments caused by eating too much, the specifics of how exactly exercise protects fat tissue are not well understood.
In this pilot study, researchers studied four lean and active adults who consumed 30 percent more calories than normal for seven days.
During the experiment, the subjects continued their regular exercise routine (at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise at least six days per week). The research team measured blood sugar tolerance and abdominal fat samples before and after the week of overeating.
The findings suggest that one week of overindulging increases markers of inflammation in the bloodstream in people who don’t exercise.
However, among participants who exercised in this study, overeating did not increase inflammation in fat tissue. The exercisers also experienced no change in glucose tolerance or lipolysis (chemical breakdown of fat).
While these findings are very preliminary, it certainly can’t hurt to keep up your workout habits during periods of overindulging. Just in time for the holiday party season!
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