Stay Active and Exercise to Reduce Hunger

Wednesday, January 14, 2009 by: Elizabeth Walling
Tags: appetite control, health news, Natural News

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(NaturalNews) We all know that extra workout can help us lose weight by burning more calories, but exercise can also support weight loss by suppressing the gnawing feeling of hunger which often gets in the way of our best efforts when it comes to losing weight.

A recent study published in The American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology researched the affect of exercise on two hormones: ghrelin, which stimulates the appetite, and peptide YY, which suppresses it.

The study examined 11 male students, separating them into three groups. One group preformed a vigorous workout on the treadmill for 60 minutes, and then rested for seven hours. The second group did resistance training for 90 minutes and rested for six and a half hours. The third group did no exercise at all.

Participants recorded their hunger at intervals during the study. Ghrelin and peptide YY were monitored, as well. The treadmill workout caused ghrelin levels to drop and peptide YY levels to rise, while the resistance workout only lowered ghrelin levels and did not affect peptide YY levels. Accordingly, the participants who exercised on the treadmill showed a more suppressed appetite than those who did resistance exercise. In both instances, appetite suppression lasted about two hours, including the time spent exercising.

These results are yet another affirmation that dieting without exercise is a much less effective way of losing weight. Regular cardio activity and moderate resistance exercise may prove to be very effective in controlling the appetite, which means it may be easier for an active person to turn down that morning donut at the office.

The study didn't examine whether or not exercise actually affects the amount of food consumed after exercising. The feeling of deserving an indulgence is common after a vigorous workout session, especially when you've been practicing a lot of restraint in an effort to lose weight. This mental idea of needing a reward may not be strongly influenced by the hormones mentioned.

Since the body burns carbohydrates for energy during a workout, severely decreased carbohydrate or calorie consumption may lead to increased hunger (and possibly increased carbohydrate cravings) after an intense workout. So if you're cutting calories to lose weight, make sure to do so in moderation or your efforts may be in vain. Moderate exercise and eating habits go hand in hand.

Keeping active is clearly part of the natural path to health in addition to weight loss, so be sure to make the time for regular exercise. It will help you control your appetite along with providing many other health benefits.

Leon, Cristina. How Does Exercise Affect Hunger? Life Organizers. (2008)

Physical activity suppresses hunger by affecting appetite hormones. MSN Life & Style. (2008)

About the author

Elizabeth Walling is a freelance writer specializing in health and family nutrition. She is a strong believer in natural living as a way to improve health and prevent modern disease. She enjoys thinking outside of the box and challenging common myths about health and wellness. You can visit her blog to learn more:

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