Women who are fit will burn fat quicker than men, according to a new study.

A trial, carried out by the University of Bath, compared both genders and measured how their bodies responded to exercise and weight loss by measuring their oxidation levels.

A total of 73 people, aged between 19 and 63, took part in a series of cycling tests. The weight of the participants were varied from normal to obese.

The findings suggested that women and those who were physically fit, burnt fat more efficiently when exercising, no matter what age they were.

Lead researcher Ollie Chrzanowski-Smith from the Department for Health at Bath said: “Our study found that females typically have a greater reliance upon fat as a fuel source during exercise than males.

“Understanding the mechanisms behind these sex differences in fuel use may help explain why being female seems to confer a metabolic advantage for insulin sensitivity, an important marker of metabolic health.”

Dr Javier Gonzalez, who was also involved in the study, added: “Weight management is mainly about energy balance, so to lose weight we need to eat fewer calories than we expend through our resting metabolism and physical activity. However, people with a higher ability to burn fat as a fuel seem to be somewhat protected against future weight gain, which might be related to how fat burning affects food intake and energy expenditure.

“Ultimately, a greater capacity to burn fat as a fuel has potential benefits for endurance athletes, by delaying the timepoint when they run out of precious carbohydrate stores.”

The study has been published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition & Exercise Medicine.

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