Study shows exercise DOES curb your hunger
Scientists at Loughborough University have found exercising is more effective than food restriction in helping limit daily calorie consumption.
Dr David Stensel and colleagues at the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine East Midlands (NCSEM-EM) studied women’s hormonal, psychological and behavioural responses to calorie control through exercise and food restriction over the course of nine hours.
Where an energy (calorie) deficit was achieved by food restriction, participants showed increased levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin and lower levels of a hunger suppressing hormone peptide YY. They also ate up to a third more at a buffet meal compared with another occasion when the same energy deficit was created via exercise (participants ate an average 944 calories following food restriction compared to 660 calories after exercise).
The findings contradict previous studies that suggest exercise makes people - in particular women - eat more. They also show the response of the hormones ghrelin and peptide YY to exercise is the same for both men and women.
Dr Stensel, a Reader in Exercise Metabolism in Loughborough’s School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, said:
“Our findings provide a valuable contribution to the diet and exercise debate. We’ve shown that exercise does not make you hungrier or encourage you to eat more - at least not in the hours immediately following it.
“Our next step is to see whether this benefit continues beyond the first day of exercise.”
The findings follow a pair of studies designed to identify whether women’s appetite responses differ to men’s.
In the first study, calorie intake was restricted through diet or exercise (a moderate intensity 90 minute treadmill run), and appetite responses were measured over a nine-hour period. The same group of 12 women took part in both sections of the study.
The second study directly compared appetite perception, appetite hormone and food intake responses to exercise in men and women.
The paper ‘Appetite and energy intake responses to acute energy deficits in females versus males’ is published this month in Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise.
Notes for editors
Press release reference number: PR 16/33
- The NCSEM-EM is one of three hubs forming the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine England, along with London and Sheffield. The East Midlands hub is a partnership between Loughborough University, University of Leicester, University of Nottingham, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust and Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust.
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Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.
It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, putting it among the best universities in the world, and was named University of the Year in the What Uni Student Choice Awards 2015. Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and is in the top 10 in England for research intensity. It was 2nd in the 2015 THE Student Experience Survey and was named Sports University of the Year 2013-14 by The Times and Sunday Times. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.
In September 2015 the University opened an additional academic campus in London’s new innovation quarter. Loughborough University London, based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities.