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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2013 Mar 15;114(6):792-800. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.01028.2012. Epub 2013 Jan 31.

Acute high-intensity endurance exercise is more effective than moderate-intensity exercise for attenuation of postprandial triglyceride elevation.

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The Human Performance Laboratory, Department of Kinesiology and Health Education, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas 78712, USA.


Acute exercise has been shown to attenuate postprandial plasma triglyceride elevation (PPTG). However, the direct contribution of exercise intensity is less well understood. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of exercise intensity on PPTG and postprandial fat oxidation. One of three experimental treatments was performed in healthy young men (n = 6): nonexercise control (CON), moderate-intensity exercise (MIE; 50% Vo2peak for 60 min), or isoenergetic high-intensity exercise (HIE; alternating 2 min at 25% and 2 min at 90% Vo2peak). The morning after the exercise, a standardized meal was provided (16 kcal/kg BM, 1.02 g fat/kg, 1.36 g CHO/kg, 0.31 g PRO/kg), and measurements of plasma concentrations of triglyceride (TG), glucose, insulin, and β-hydroxybutyrate were made in the fasted condition and hourly for 6 h postprandial. Indirect calorimetry was used to determine fat oxidation in the fasted condition and 2, 4, and 6 h postprandial. Compared with CON, both MIE and HIE significantly attenuated PPTG [incremental AUC; 75.2 (15.5%), P = 0.033, and 54.9 (13.5%), P = 0.001], with HIE also significantly lower than MIE (P = 0.03). Postprandial fat oxidation was significantly higher in MIE [83.3 (10.6%) of total energy expenditure] and HIE [89.1 (9.8) %total] compared with CON [69.0 (16.1) %total, P = 0.039, and P = 0.018, respectively], with HIE significantly greater than MIE (P = 0.012). We conclude that, despite similar energy expenditure, HIE was more effective than MIE for lowering PPTG and increasing postprandial fat oxidation.

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