Many of the health benefits of aerobic exercise are due to the most recent exercise session. The nature of these benefits can be greatly affected by the food you eat afterwards.
Differences in what you eat after exercise produce different effects on your body’s metabolism.
Specifically, the study found that exercise enhanced insulin sensitivity, particularly when meals eaten after the exercise session contained relatively low carbohydrate content.
Interestingly, when the research subjects in this study ate relatively low-calorie meals after exercise, this did not improve insulin sensitivity any more than when they ate enough calories to match what they expended during exercise.
This suggests that you don’t have to starve yourself after exercise to still reap some of the important health benefits.
Enhanced insulin sensitivity means that is is easier for your body to take up sugar from your bloodstream into tissues like muscles, where it can be stored or used as fuel. Impaired insulin sensitivity, also known as insulin resistance is a hallmark of Type II diabetes, as well as being a major risk factor for other chronic diseases.
Eurekalert January 28, 2010
Journal of Applied Physiology December 31, 2009