With the extra calories that you’ve burned, energy you have used and ‘reward’ you have earned, most of us do have a tendency to eat more after a gruelling session at the gym or pounding the streets.
Because of this human propensity to gorge on a bar of chocolate after a five-mile run because we ‘deserve’ it, the pitfalls working out can have on one’s diet have often been speculated.
There is however an increasing amount of research that contests this argument, with many nutritionists claiming that instead of exercise increasing hunger, it can actually curb it.
Can exercise stop hunger?
One such expert who proclaims that after exercising we are less prone to snack on ‘treats’ and more inclined to feel less hungry, is David Stensel, reader in exercise metabolism at Loughborough University.
“Exercise may lower levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite in the short term, while raising levels of peptide YY, a hormone that suppresses appetite,” says Stensel.
The more intense the workout, the more the body benefits from a dampening of appetite.
Although it does seem that this suppression of appetite is short lived, as approximately an hour after we have exercised our body starts to crave the energy that it used up during the workout, a reaction that is more intense in women. As according to Barry Braun, associate professor of kinesiology at the University of Massachusetts:
“Physical activity may help raise concentrations of longer-term appetite-stimulating hormones like insulin and leptin in women. It might be that women are wired to defend their body weight to preserve energy for pregnancy and lactation.”
The net result seems to be that although our body will crave to replace the energy it used during a workout, do not use it as an excuse to binge on unhealthy snacks. Successful weight loss requires regular exercise and a sensible healthy eat plan – treat yourself to a banana instead!