Many people wonder whether they should eat before a workout or exercise on an empty stomach. In a new study, researchers sought to answer that question by examining gene expression in adipose (fat) tissue.

The study, published in American Journal of Physiology—Endocrinology and Metabolism, involved 10 overweight men, all of whom were assigned to walk for 60 minutes on an empty stomach. On a later date, they walked again, but had a high-calorie, high-carb breakfast two hours prior.

Read: Pre/Post-Workout Nutrition: What You Should Eat Before And After The Gym To Build Muscle

Blood samples were taken at regular intervals and adipose tissue was collected directly before walking and one hour after. Upon examination, the researchers found vast differences in the adipose tissue samples from both trials. Ultimately, the authors noted fasting before a workout may be the better option.

After eating, the fatty tissue “is busy responding to the meal and a bout of exercise at this time will not stimulate the same [beneficial] changes in adipose tissue,” study author Dylan Thompson, told Medical Xpress. “This means that exercise in a fasted state might provoke more favorable changes in adipose tissue, and this could be beneficial for health in the long term.”

It’s important to note this is a small study, involving only overweight men; therefore, these results may not be applicable to the general population.

However, previous research has also found benefits of exercising during a fasted state. One study found you may even be able to burn up to 20 percent more fat.

See also: 8 Minutes Of Intense Exercise Just Before You Eat Could Protect Your Heart

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