06 Oct Reduce your interest in food by exercising
Many people use the belief that exercise just increases your appetite as a reason not to include exercise in their weight loss efforts. It seems that theory may not be completely accurate – at least immediately following exercise.
Soon to be reported research has shown that 45 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise in the morning actually reduces a person’s motivation for food.
The researchers from Brigham Young University measured the neural activity of 35 women while they viewed food images, both following a morning of exercise and a morning without exercise. They found their response to the food pictures decreased after a brisk workout.
The study provides evidence that exercise not only affects energy output, but it also may affect how people respond to food cues.
The study measured the food motivation of 18 normal-weight women and 17 clinically obese women over two separate days.
On the first day, each woman briskly walked on a treadmill for 45 minutes and then, within the hour, had their brain waves measured while they looked at 240 images – 120 of plated food meals and 120 of flowers. (Flowers served as a control.)
The same experiment was conducted one week later on the same day of the week and at the same time of the morning, but omitted the exercise.
Individuals also recorded their food consumption and physical activity on the experiment days.
The exercise session not only produced lower brain responses to the food images, but also resulted in an increase in total physical activity that day, regardless of body mass index.
Interestingly, the women in the experiment did not eat more food on the exercise day to “make up” for the extra calories they burned in exercise. In fact, they ate approximately the same amount of food on the non-exercise day.
This is one of the first studies to look specifically at neurologically-determined food motivation in response to exercise. Further research is needed to determine how long the diminished food motivation lasts after exercise and to what extent it persists with consistent, long-term exercise but it certainly shows that exercise is a critical factor in food intake and not just a means to burn calories.
It supports my belief that exercise and being fit is the key to managing body composition in the long-term.