What happens when you eat a lot of fat after exercise?

The issue of eating fat in a post-training meal is one of those considered to be definitively resolved. Well, apparently there is every indication that after exercise under no condition should you eat fat because... Well, here in where a realm of all sorts of speculation comes about: what bad happens in your body when you indigest fat in the wrong place and at the wrong time. Fortunately, if you want to find out what are the real effects of fat consumption just after your work out, you don't have to rely on speculation; you can simply refer to scientific research.

Bad, bad fat!

After many decades of total banishment, fat contained in food have suddenly begans to be perceived with a certain enthusiasm. Firstly fats in dinner started to be a bit more fashionable, then also those in the breakfast gained some popularity. Lunch and other refreshments somehow incidentally also become more fatty, but the meals eaten after exercise turned out to be totally resistant to this binding fashion. Is it right? Well, certainly the allegation that fat restrictions in post-training meal is a sin against health, body shape and fitness should be considered heresy - for no one has never proved it. On the other hand, arguments authentifying total avoidance of fat in the period after exercise also tend to be a bit controversial. As a reminder, popular theories proclaim that fatty meals during that period bear the following effects:

  • impaired digestion and absorption of protein and carbohydrates,
  • slower rate of muscle protein synthesis,
  • disturbance in functioning of the insulin-glucose management,
  • disorder of muscle glycogen complement processes.

These of course are only some negative consequences mentioned when a post-workout meal has any traces of fat in it. Why don't we confront them with the results of scientific research.

An interesting research

A team of American researchers led by Dr. Fox of the Division of Kinesiology, The University of Michigan decided to conduct a study which was to verify the impact of a highly fatty after-workout meal on selected metabolic parameters and the rate of muscle glycogen resynthesis. For this purpose, healthy volunteers were assigned to one of two diets:

  • low-fat diet assuming 77%, 18% and 5% of energy from carbohydrates, protein and fat respectively,
  • high-fat diet assuming 44%, 10% and 46% of energy from carbohydrates, protein and fat respectively.

In fact, the difference between the diets was based on the fact that for the sake of the experimental protocol 55 g of fat were added to each of three meals (total 165 g of fat, which is as much as a cube of butter 200 g).
Participants took part in a training session covering sets of intervals. The post-workout meal was eaten an hour after the exercise. Then the survey was conducted:

  • the level of muscle glycogen
  • inner-muscle triglyceride levels,
  • glucose and insulin levels were checked.