Exercise and Appetite

Exercise may actually suppress your appetite, two new studies suggest When most people finish a hard workout, they want a reward ­ possibly a sandwich, or some pancakes, or maybe even a burger and fries. What they don’t want? To not eat anything. And yet, a few recent studies found that moderate intensity aerobic training could actually decrease your appetite or increase your feelings of fullness or satiety. Strange, right? Previous research has shown that people who exercise often reward themselves with food, increasing overall calorie consumption, and often sabotaging their weight loss goals. So, what gives? “Exercise can definitely suppress hunger,” says Barry Braun, director of the Energy Metabolism Laboratory at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, who has co-authored multiple studies on the subject. How, why, and for how long afterward is something researchers are still working out. They do know that workouts trigger changes in the hunger hormone ghrelin and the satiety hormones, PYY and GLP-1 ­ though research has yet to establish the exact relationship. A recent study published in the journal Metabolism found that perceived fullness ­ both while fasting and after eating ­ was higher among participants after 12 weeks of aerobic training, but not after resistance training for the same amount of time. And another study out of Brigham Young University revealed that women appeared to be less interested in food on mornings when they walked on a treadmill for 45 minutes than on days they didn’t.