Nutritionists and dietitians have long believed that exercise(s) helped in whetting an individual’s appetite. However, if two recent small trials are to be believed, workouts actually suppressed one’s appetite or food cravings. Young men and women, some who exercised regularly and some that were under diet-control, participated in two miniature clinical trials. All of them exhausted the same amount of calories either by exercising routinely or by eating less. It was observed that individuals who worked out habitually consumed much less food at a buffet compared to those were dieting.
Another remarkable observation was that individuals of both sexes who exercised responded similarly to hunger pangs induced by calorie deficiency. This finding runs counter to and contradicts claims made by researchers and scientists that women were likely to experience increased secretions of appetite hormones than men after a workout. And consequently, they’d feel hungrier and end up tucking more food, in comparison to men.
This revelation was opined by David Stensel, professor of exercise metabolism in the Loughborough University in UK who chaired the study. The findings were published in ‘Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise’ in its March edition. In one of the trials, David along with his team of researchers reviewed the behavioral, psychological, and hormonal reactions of 12 young healthy women with respect to calorie deficit via diet and exercise. Women deficient in calories owing to limited food consumption secreted more of the hunger hormone ‘ghrelin’ and less of the appetite-dulling hormone called peptide YY.
This observation was corroborated when it was noted that women on diet-control generally consumed food that supplied them with 944 calories as against the 660 calories whose calorific shortfall were due to exercises. The other study was carried out on 20 individuals, 10 from each of the sexes where the participants were required to complete one hour of running before the commencement of the research. Intake of food, secretion of hunger hormones and sensitivity to appetite post exercise were more or less identical in both the sexes.
Stensel also observed that one’s appetite was likely to get most suppressed after a bout of vigorous or strenuous exercise. The conclusion of the studies was that exercises rather than increasing your appetite and inducing you to eat more ended up restraining the same. This inference more probably hold good in the temporary period, say for a period of 24 hours. A spokeswoman in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Chicago, Kelly Pritchett was more inquisitive about determining the impact exercises may have on an individual’s appetite for a period that went beyond a single day.
According to Kelly, one of the shortcomings or drawbacks of the findings that they cannot be extrapolated to a populace that was less healthy and who were more obsessed about losing weight. Both Pritchett and Stensel concurred that further research were required to buttress and/or fine-tune the conclusions. More studies should be performed that’ll include more diverse groupings of participants of all age groups, both healthy and less-fit individuals.
Image credit: ammentorp