The amount of fat burned during exercise varies greatly between people

Study reveals limitations of commercial exercise machines.

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Exercise at an intensity that allows for the maximum rate of fat burning may interest people trying to lose weight or fat. Depending on age, sex, and heart rate, most commercial exercise machines provide a “fat-burning zone” option.

However, the typically recommended fat-burning zone has not been validated. Thus, individuals may exercise outside of their personalized weight loss goals at intensities.

A new study by Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, which focused on machine learning approach, reports that the best heart rate for burning fat differs for each individual and often does not align with the “fat burning zone” on commercial exercise machines.

Lead author Hannah Kittrell, MS, RD, CDN, a Ph.D. candidate at Icahn Mount Sinai in the Augmented Intelligence in Medicine and Science laboratory, said, “People with a goal of weight or fat loss may be interested in exercising at the intensity which allows for the maximal rate of fat burning. Most commercial exercise machines offer a ‘fat-burning zone’ option, depending upon age, sex, and heart rate.”

“However, the typically recommended fat-burning zone has not been validated. Thus, individuals may exercise at intensities that are not aligned with their personalized weight loss goals.”

The heart rate and exercise intensity at which the body burns fat at its maximum rate during aerobic exercise are commonly referred to as FATmax. This intensity may be of interest to people looking to maximize fat loss during exercises since fat is now a substantial source of energy. 

Scientists are further planning to study whether individuals who receive a more personalized exercise prescription demonstrate more weight and fat loss, as well as improvement of metabolic health markers that identify health risks like type 2 diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.

Scientists noted “whether individuals who receive a more personalized exercise prescription demonstrate more weight and fat loss, as well as improvement of metabolic health markers that identify health risks like type 2 diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.”

Journal Reference:

  1. Hannah Kittrell, Fred DiMenna, Avigdor Arad et al. The discrepancy between predicted and measured exercise intensity for eliciting the maximal rate of lipid oxidation. Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Disease. DOI: 10.1016/j.numecd.2023.07.014
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