There could be a way to protect your body from fatty foods before you even eat them, according to new research recently published in American Journal of Physiology—Heart and Circulatory Physiology: Just schedule a quick, hard-core workout an hour before digging in.
The trick worked like a charm in clinical testing, when 20 people who did just eight minutes of high-intensity cycling an hour before eating a high-fat milkshake were less affected by the fat for up to three hours after eating than people who did 25 minutes of moderate-intensity cycling before knocking back the same treat.
See, every time you eat a high-fat meal, your blood vessels sort of freak out in a way that impairs blood flow. Existing research suggests the food can cause inflammation, too. While this response might not bother you as much as, say, a headache or killer cramps, it secretly sets you up for heart disease, and increases your risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke down the road—especially if you eat lots of "bad fats" (from foods like bacon and butter) on the regular.
While plowing through a plate of fries, mozzarella sticks, or other fatty foods every now and then certainly won't kill you, an eight-minute run or jump roping session won't either. Besides, food tastes way better when you come at it with an exercise-induced appetite, amirite?!
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.