Contrary to popular belief, exercising does not necessarily make you (especially women) eat more. Researchers at Loughborough University, UK, found working out was more effective at limiting total kilojoule consumption than simply eating less food.
The researchers conducted two experiments to study appetite and related gut-hormones that are critical in modulating hunger levels. Twelve women participated in the first experiment, which had three study visits. During the first visit, the researchers provided food equal to each participant’s kilojoule needs for an inactive day. At the second visit, participants were given the same food, but ran for 90 minutes at a medium-hard effort. For the last visit, the researchers fed the participants less by deducting the amount of kilojoules the participants burned during their run. Toward the end of each study day, participants were given free access to a food buffet for 30 minutes with instruction to eat whatever and as much as they wanted.
Results showed that the participants were hungrier on the day they were given less food, causing them to eat more at the food buffet. They also exhibited higher concentrations of the gut hormone that stimulates appetite. But when the women had exercised, they produced more of the gut hormone that reduces appetite and ate less compared to when they hadn’t exercised.
The researchers also conducted a second experiment in which 10 women and 10 men participated in two study visits. During each visit, participants were fed a standard meal and then given access to a food buffet for 30 minutes. The only difference was participants ran for an hour during the second visit. The researchers found that after running, subjects didn’t have as big an appetite and ate less at the food buffet.
Taken together, this study demonstrates that exercise can suppress appetite, allowing people to consume fewer kilojoules. Further, the researchers found exercise stimulated the gut hormone that reduces appetite.
Working out when the sun wakes up will start your day off right. You’ll also be able to take advantage of the reduced appetite effect following exercise to help you stay on track with your kilojoule goals throughout the day.
Walk Before Lunch
Take a brisk walk before lunch to avoid overeating.
Move While You Wait
Do a quick circuit workout while your food warms up to burn a few extra kilojoules.
-Additional reporting by Debbie Fetter