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Light Exercise after Meals Reduces Triglyceride Levels

Triglycerides are the most abundant fat molecules in the body. They occur naturally in foods and are also produced by the liver from carbohydrates that are not immediately used for energy, thus serving as a form of energy storage. When found in high levels in the blood, triglycerides can increase one’s risk for acute pancreatitis, diabetes and heart disease. Elevated triglyceride levels are common among alcoholics, diabetics, and obese individuals. Treatment for hypertriglyceridemia (high serum triglyceride levels) usually includes dietary modifications and exercise.

A recent study at Kyoto Prefectural University, Kyoto, Japan demonstrated that even light exercise in the form of brisk walking and light resistance training one hour after eating can reduce the rise of triglyceride levels. Dr Wataru Aoi and colleagues report in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise that volunteers who did light exercise after eating reduced their triglyceride levels 72% from the initial rise following a meal. This was in contrast to the effect of exercise done before a meal, which reduced their triglyceride levels only by 25%.

The study involved 10 healthy adult participants (six males and four females) who were tested for three days. The participants were given a balanced meal consisting of protein, fat and carbohydrates, and their triglyceride levels were compared after eating and with rest (no exercise) on the first day, after light exercise and a meal on the second day, and after a meal and then light exercise on the third day. Exercises consisted of a brisk 2-km walk followed by light resistance exercises like squats, push-ups and leg raises.

Dr Wataru Aoi believes that their study provides evidence that low intensity exercise after meals can suppress the rise of serum triglycerides.


O’Riordan, M. Light Exercise Can Reduce Postprandial Triglycerides. Medscape.

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