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Exercising on an Empty Stomach: Does It Burn More Fat?

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    Woman resting and eating a granola bar

    Does exercising on an empty stomach burn more fat?

    The idea's been circulating for years, under the premise that without the quick fuel that comes from a just-consumed meal or snack, the body is forced to dip into fat stores for fuel.

    But recent research shows that may not be the case after all, according to the New York T imes' Well blog.

    A report published in Strength and Conditioning Journal concluded that "the body burns roughly the same amount of fat regardless of whether you eat before a workout," says Well.

    What's more, you risk losing muscle -- not fat -- when you exercise in a depleted state, the report found. And without fuel to sustain your workout, your intensity and overall calorie burn go down, according to Well.

    One of the studies reviewed in the report looked at cyclists when they trained after eating and when they trained while fasting, reports Well. "When they trained with nothing in their stoamchs, about 10 percent of the calories they burned came from protein, including lost muscle, the researchers wrote." 

    What do you eat or drink as a pre-workout snack?