The fitter you are the better you burn fat, according to new research from University of Bath Department for Health

18 March 2021

Females who are fit and healthy tend to burn more fat when they exercise than men, according to new research from a team of sports nutritionists at the University of Bath.

The research, comprising two new studies from academics led by the University’s Centre for Nutrition, Exercise & Metabolism, analysed the factors that most influenced individuals’ capacity to burn body fat when undertaking endurance sports such as running or cycling.

Ollie Chrzanowski-Smith, lead author on both papers, said: “Our study found that females typically have a greater reliance upon fat as a fuel source during exercise than males. Understanding the mechanisms behind these sex differences in fuel use may help explain why being female seems to confer a metabolic advantage for insulin sensitivity, an important marker of metabolic health.”

The researchers note that the ability to burn fat as a fuel appears to protect against future weight gain, ensuring good weight management. However, they caution that the body’s ability to burn fat should not be equated with an ability to lose weight. Losing weight is primarily produced by an energy deficit (ie. consuming fewer calories than we expend). For weight loss, in particular where individuals might be overweight, they stress the importance of diet and exercise.

Click here for the full story and to see more details about the two studies and their findings on the University of Bath website.

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