People who are looking to reduce weight should exercise before having breakfast, reveal researchers.

Previous studies have claimed that working out with empty stomach or fasted exercise, which is exercising before having breakfast, can improve energy and endurance and at the same time enhance a person's muscle growth and metabolism.

The New York Times points at a Belgian study published in 2010, which suggests that fasted exercise can also help in weight reduction.

The study involved healthy young men who were divided in three different groups with different exercise routines. All the participants were asked to consume a diet that comprised about 30 percent additional calories and around 50 percent extra fat than the participants consumed on a regular basis.

The study lasted for six weeks and men in the first group did not exercise while they consumed extra calories and fat. In the second group of participants the research implemented an exercise routine after eating breakfast. The third group of men followed the same exercise routine but worked out before consuming their breakfast in the morning.

After six weeks the researchers found that the first group of participants who did not involve in any physical exercise became unhealthy and gained around 6 pounds, or 2.72 kilograms (kg), each. The participants in this group also developed resistance to insulin and their muscles were loaded with fat cells.

The men in the second group also gained about 3 pounds, or 1.36 kg, each. Participants in this group also developed resistance to insulin.

However, the men in the third group, who exercised before breakfast, did not gain any weight and their insulin levels also remained healthy. The researchers also found the body of these participants burned more fat during the day in comparison to the bodies of men in other two groups.

Peter Hespel, a professor in the Research Center for Exercise and Health at Catholic University Leuven in Belgium, who is also the study author, suggests that it was the fasted exercise that prevented weight gain in the third group.

He suggests that the key to a healthy lifestyle is balanced diet in combination of physical activity. However, Hespel suggests that early morning exercise at fasted state is more potent in comparison to exercising in the fed state.

The study was published in The Journal of Physiology in 2010. 

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