Adding fat calories to meals after exercise does not alter glucose tolerance

J Appl Physiol (1985). 2004 Jul;97(1):11-6. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.01398.2003. Epub 2004 Feb 20.


A single session of exercise increases insulin sensitivity for hours and even days, and dietary carbohydrate ingested after exercise alters the magnitude and duration of this effect. Although increasing systemic fatty acid availability is associated with insulin resistance, it is uncertain whether increasing dietary fat availability after exercise alters the exercise-induced increase in insulin sensitivity. The purpose of this study was to determine whether adding fat calories to meals after exercise alters glucose tolerance the next day. Seven healthy men cycled 90 min at 66 +/- 2% peak oxygen uptake followed by a maximum of five high-intensity intervals. During the hours after exercise, subjects ingested three meals containing either low-fat (5% energy from fat) or high-fat (45% energy from fat) foods (Low-Fat and High-Fat groups, respectively). Each diet contained the same amount of carbohydrate and protein. An oral glucose tolerance test was performed the next morning. Muscle glycogen and intramuscular triglyceride (IMTG) concentrations were measured in muscle biopsy samples obtained immediately before exercise and the next morning. The day after exercise, muscle glycogen concentration was identical in High-Fat and Low-Fat (393 +/- 70 and 379 +/- 38 mmol/kg dry wt). At the same time, IMTG concentration was approximately 20% greater during High-Fat compared with Low-Fat (42.5 +/- 3.4 and 36.3 +/- 3.3 mmol/kg dry wt; P < 0.05). Despite the addition of approximately 165 g of fat to meals after exercise ( approximately 1,500 kcal) and a resultant elevation in IMTG concentration, glucose tolerance was identical in High-Fat and Low-Fat (composite index: 8.7 +/- 1.0 and 8.4 +/- 1.0). In summary, as long as meals ingested in the hours after exercise contain the same carbohydrate content, the addition of approximately 1500 kcal from fat to these meals did not alter muscle glycogen resynthesis or glucose tolerance the next day.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Area Under Curve
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Body Composition / physiology
  • Diet
  • Dietary Fats / pharmacology*
  • Energy Intake / physiology
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Glucose Tolerance Test*
  • Glycogen / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology


  • Blood Glucose
  • Dietary Fats
  • Insulin
  • Glycogen