Exercise & Fat Storage

Exercise Reduces Fat Storage

If you’ve been dieting for some time, chances are you’ve developed the odd craving or two for a few of the foods on your “banned” list. Now, researchers from Washington University School of Medicine have shown that the calories in a “cheat” meal may be less likely to get stored as fat if you eat them after exercise.


The study shows that just one 60-minute workout could help to “divert” fat and sugar into muscle, rather than fat tissue. This should come as good news for anyone who’s been dieting for some time and wants to treat themselves without feeling guilty.

Specifically, the research team found that exercise increases the activity of two enzymes – GLUT-4 and lipoprotein lipase. These enzymes are responsible for transporting glucose and fat into your muscles.

Lipoprotein Lipase

Lipoprotein lipase (pronounced lie-po-protein lie-pace) plays an important role in both the storage and oxidation of body fat. When fat is oxidized, it means that it gets burned for energy. If you oxidize more fat than you store, then eventually, you’ll lose weight. Whether lipoprotein lipase (LPL for short) promotes fat storage or fat oxidation depends on whether it’s expressed in muscle or fat.

* LPL in fat tissue takes fat from the blood, and stores it as body fat.
* LPL in muscle tissue diverts fat away from storage in fat tissue and towards oxidation.

Animal studies show that mice with high levels of LPL in their muscles are resistant to the effects of a high-fat diet. Some scientists think drugs that increasing LPL in muscle represents one way to tackle the growing problem of obesity.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that exercise gives you the freedom to eat all you want. The key to losing weight is to burn more calories than you get from your diet.

If you simply replace the extra energy you’ve expended during exercise with additional calories from your diet, then your weight won’t change. And more than one or two “cheat” meals each week can easily put the brakes on weight loss. However, the bottom line is that the calories in a cheat meal are less likely to be stored as fat if you eat them a few hours after you exercise.

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