New research into overeating to be revealed at Science Uncovered

23 September 2013

Sports scientists will bring their latest findings on holiday overindulgence, the benefits of hopping, and artificial muscles to this year's Science Uncovered open evening at the Museum.

New research from Loughborough University's School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences will be showcased at this year's Science Uncovered.

The department caught the public's interest in a BBC Horizon documentary last year, which estimated that three minutes a week of high-intensity exercise (HIT) are more beneficial to health than an hour in the gym twice a week.

Holiday baggage

Now, research from the department led by Dr Carl Hulston has found that overeating during a week's holiday can have lasting effects on the body's ability to deal with glucose. 

Researchers asked people to consume 50 per cent extra calories every day for a week, of which 60-65 per cent was fat. 

Sion Parry, a researcher on the study, said it was a reasonable comparison to the extra calories we consume on holiday, particularly when alcohol is involved.

The results showed that despite only small changes in body weight (0.5-1kg), there was a 25 per cent reduction in insulin sensitivity after seven days of overeating that continued even after eating went back to normal. 

Lower insulin sensitivity means the body has to produce more insulin than usual to break down carbohydrates. Increased insulin is associated with a number of health problems, including weight gain, diabetes and other metabolic disorders.  


Loughborough University scientists at Science Uncovered will be showcasing new exercise and health research that impacts on our everyday lives.

Parry will also be discussing a new project at Science Uncovered that will study whether being overweight blunts the body's ability to form muscle through exercise. 

Hopping and health

Loughborough University researcher Sarah Allison will talk about a study that shows the benefit of hopping on the bone health of older men. 

Allison's research showed that hopping for just a couple of minutes every day increased bone density of the hip in older men. 

Osteoporosis, or brittle bones, will eventually affect one in five older men and one in two older women, with hip fractures particularly difficult to recover from.

Sport uncovered

The sports scientists at Science Uncovered will also demonstrate the breakthrough engineering of artificial muscle and how it performs in 'mini gyms' as well as the force the body withstands while white water rafting. They will also discuss their work on the legacy of the London Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The HIT static bike featured in the BBC Horizon documentary will be making an appearance to test visitor's response to exercise by measuring their metabolic rate and energy expenditure.

Science Uncovered schedule

Loughborough University scientists are among 400 researchers, curators and students from the Natural History Museum, Imperial College and the Royal College of Art taking part in the Science Uncovered event.

Science stations around the Museum will present fascinating research into food, forensic entomology, planetary science, climate change, human origins and evolution.

Find full details of all the evening's activities on the Science Uncovered website. Science Uncovered 2013