Light Exercise Can Reduce Postprandial Triglycerides

January 22, 2013

KYOTO, Japan — Brisk walking followed by some resistance training an hour after eating can suppress the postprandial elevation in triglyceride levels, research suggests [1]. When compared with the elevated levels that occur following a meal, triglyceride levels decreased 72% after a combined exercise program of walking and light resistance training, report investigators.

In contrast, brisk walking and resistance training prior to eating decreased triglyceride levels 25%.

The study was relatively small, including just six healthy males and four healthy females. On the day of the trial, men ate a test meal consisting of 9.6% protein, 37.8% fat, and 52.8% carbohydrates, while women ate a meal consisting of 10.6% protein, 39.1% fat, and 50.3% carbohydrates. The experiment involved three days of testing: eating the meal and performing no exercise (rest); performing the exercise regimen first--consisting of a 2-km walk followed by squats, shoulder presses, push-ups, and leg raises, among other resistance exercises--and then eating the meal; and finally eating the meal and then exercising.

When the subjects exercised after eating, there was a reduction in the transient elevation in serum triglyceride concentrations two hours following the meal when compared with the rest day (131 mg/dL vs 172 mg/dL; p<0.01). Similarly, there was a reduction in the transient elevations among patients who exercised before eating (148 mg/dL vs 172 mg/dL; p<0.01). Triglyceride concentrations in the VLDL, LDL, and HDL fractions were also decreased two hours after eating in both exercise arms. Exercise also decreased serum free fatty-acid concentrations, but no effect on insulin was observed.

"Our observations provide the first evidence that exercise on the day of meal intake can suppress postprandial triglyceride concentrations, even if the exercise is of low intensity and of relatively short duration," write Dr Wataru Aoi (Kyoto Prefectural University, Kyoto, Japan) and colleagues in the February 2013 issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.