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After-meal exercise may lower heart disease risk: Study

New York: A high-fat meal may not be quite as harmful to your body if you exercise shortly afterward, a new study has claimed.

Japanese researchers found that walking and doing light resistance training one hour after eating a high-fat meal reduces the boost in triglycerides, fats in the blood, normally seen after consuming this type of food.

Moreover, exercising after eating did a better job of reducing elevations in triglyceride levels than exercising before a meal.

High levels of triglycerides can increase the risk of heart disease.

Regular exercise reduces triglyceride levels, but few studies had looked at the effect of exercise on triglyceride levels shortly after eating, the researchers said.

However, because the study was small, further research is needed to know whether the results apply to the general population, the researchers added.

In the new study, researchers from Kyoto Prefectural University measured triglyceride levels in 10 men and women after they had eaten a fatty meal (about 38 per cent fat). On two separate days, people exercised either one hour before or one hour after eating the meal. On a third day, people did not exercise after eating.

When people didn`t exercise, their triglyceride levels rose from 66 milligrammes per deciliter (mg/dL) to 172 mg/dL two hours after eating. Normal fasting triglyceride levels are below 150 mg/dL.

When people exercised before dining, their triglyceride levels increased to 148 mg/dL within two hours after eating (a 25 per cent reduction compared with triglyceride levels following no exercise).

When people exercised after eating the meal, their triglyceride levels increased to 131 mg/dL (a 72 per cent reduction compared with no exercise).

Six hours after eating the high-fat meal, all participants` triglyceride levels were the about the same, regardless of whether or not they had exercised.

However, even temporary increases in triglyceride levels after eating a high-fat meal may increase cardiovascular disease risk, the researchers said.

Exercising after a fatty meal may accelerate the rate at which the body uses fat, thus reducing triglyceride levels, the researchers said.

The study was published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.