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Walking off the fat

Wednesday December 21st, 2011

A walk after Christmas dinner may help make the indulgence guilt-free - by helping purge the body of fat from the food, British researchers said yesterday.

Researchers in Glasgow said just 30 minutes or more of exercise seems to reduce the level of fatty particles - known as lipids - in the blood and to maintain its benefits for up to two days.

The findings seem to suggest that moderate exercise can have a big exercise in preventing weight gain.

Researcher Dr Jason Gill, from Glasgow University, said: “We can think of the level of lipids in our blood as being like the level of water in a bath. To reduce the water level you can either turn off the tap, or increase the size of the plughole to let it drain out. For blood lipids this is equivalent to producing less, or breaking them down more.

“Our research suggests that exercise works at the ‘plughole’ end of the process, increasing the body’s ability to break down the fats faster. We think this might occur through structural changes to the lipid particles making them more amenable to clearance from the blood.

“The lipid lowering effect of each exercise session lasts for a couple of days, so it is important to undertake regular physical activity to maximise the benefits.”

Professor Jeremy Pearson, of the British Heart Foundation, which funded the research, said: "We need more research to confirm its findings, but it does give us a clue to how some of the benefits of exercise might take place. What’s in no doubt is that being active has very real benefits to our health.

"During the Christmas period many of us indulge more than usual, so it’s vital to balance that with healthy habits - the festive walk is a great healthy tradition for many families. And as the short term drop in lipids lasts for a day or two after exercise, even the last minute dash for presents on Christmas Eve has its benefits!"

* Meanwhile the UK government launched plans to promote healthy eating through "Supermeals". Some four million packs of recipes are to be distributed in the New Year.

The Department of Health said the second most popular evening meal in the UK is now a sandwich.

TV chef Ainsley Harriott said: “Sometimes the thought of making meals from scratch can seem a bit daunting, but I have always tried to assure people that cooking at home can be really quick, easy and doesn’t need to break the bank.

“This campaign is a great way to give people the tools and imagination they need to get back into the kitchen and give cooking a try."

Effects of Moderate Exercise on VLDL1 and Intralipid Kinetics in Overweight/Obese Middle-Aged Men. Iqbal Al-Shayji, Muriel Caslake and Jason Gill. The American Journal of Physiology Endocrinology and Metabolism. doi:10.1152/ajpendo.00498.2011

Tags: Diet & Food | Fitness | Heart Health | UK News

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