Interventions aimed at increasing fat metabolism could potentially reduce the symptoms of metabolic diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes and may have tremendous clinical relevance. Hence, an understanding of the factors that increase or decrease fat oxidation is important. Exercise intensity and duration are important determinants of fat oxidation. Fat oxidation rates increase from low to moderate intensities and then decrease when the intensity becomes high. Maximal rates of fat oxidation have been shown to be reached at intensities between 59% and 64% of maximum oxygen consumption in trained individuals and between 47% and 52% of maximum oxygen consumption in a large sample of the general population. The mode of exercise can also affect fat oxidation, with fat oxidation being higher during running than cycling. Endurance training induces a multitude of adaptations that result in increased fat oxidation. The duration and intensity of exercise training required to induce changes in fat oxidation is currently unknown. Ingestion of carbohydrate in the hours before or on commencement of exercise reduces the rate of fat oxidation significantly compared with fasted conditions, whereas fasting longer than 6 h optimizes fat oxidation. Fat oxidation rates have been shown to decrease after ingestion of high-fat diets, partly as a result of decreased glycogen stores and partly because of adaptations at the muscle level.
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