Friday, January 28, 2022

How exercise affects appetite

Does physical activity subsequently make you hungry and inclined to eat more than you should? Or does it dull our appetites and help us skip that last tempting piece of the pie?

The new research provides timely, albeit warning, clues. A study involving overweight men and women, a sedentary lifestyle and several types of moderate exercise found that people who exercised did not overeat after a tempting buffet lunch. However, they also didn’t skip dessert or skimp on portions. The findings remind us over the holidays that while exercise has countless health benefits, helping us eat less or lose weight may not be among them.

For most of us, exercise affects our weight and hunger in unexpected and sometimes conflicting ways. According to numerous scientific studies, few people who start exercising lose as many pounds as they burn in calories during exercise.

Some recent research suggests this is due to our bodies relentlessly trying to hold onto our fat stores, an evolutionary adaptation that protects us from (unlikely) future hunger. So, if we burn calories during exercise, our bodies can nudge us to sit more after exercise, or redistribute energy from one body system to another, reducing our total daily energy expenditure. Thus, our bodies unknowingly compensate for the many calories we burn during exercise, reducing our chances of shedding those extra pounds during exercise.

But this calorie compensation is slow, over weeks or months, and includes energy expenditure. It is less clear whether exercise affects energy consumption, that is, how many servings of food we consume, and how, especially in the hours immediately following exercise.

Evidence so far has been mixed. Some studies show that exercise, especially if it is exhausting and prolonged, tends to dull people’s appetites, often for a few hours or even the next day. This phenomenon prompts them to consume fewer calories in subsequent meals than if they had not been exercising. But other studies suggest the opposite, finding that some people feel hungrier after any workout and soon replace the calories they burned – and then some – with an extra serving or two at their next meal.

However, many of these studies relied on healthy, healthy and active young men and women as test subjects, as these groups are usually readily available among physical education students at universities. Fewer studies have examined how exercise can immediately affect appetite and nutrition in overweight and sedentary seniors, and even fewer have examined the effects of resistance training as well as aerobic exercise.

The new study was published in October in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. Scientists at the University of Utah at Salt Lake City, the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, Colorado, and other institutions have advertised volunteers in Colorado who want to exercise and eat for science.

After sifting through hundreds of responses, they found 24 men and women between the ages of 18 and 55 who were overweight or obese and generally inactive. They invited everyone to visit the lab in the morning, fed them breakfast, and then, on certain days, asked them to sit quietly, walk quickly on a treadmill, or lift weights for about 45 minutes.

Before, during, and for three hours thereafter, the researchers drew blood to check for changes in hormones associated with appetite and asked people how hungry they were. They also allow everyone to enjoy a buffet lunch of lasagna, salad, rolls, sodas and strawberry tarts, while discreetly keeping track of how much people ate.

The researchers then compared hormones, hunger, and actual nutrition and found strange inconsistencies. In general, people’s hormones change after each workout in such a way that a decrease in their appetite can be expected. But study participants did not report feeling less hungry – nor did they report feeling hungry – after exercising compared to when they were sitting. And at lunch they ate roughly the same amount, about 950 calories, of lasagna and other buffet meals, whether they exercised or not.

The result of these results suggests that at least brisk walking or heavy lifting may not affect our subsequent nutrition as much as “other factors” such as the aroma and oozing taste of lasagna (or butter buns or pie) … said Tanya Halliday, assistant professor of health and kinesiology at the University of Utah, who conducted the new study. Appetite hormones may have dropped a little after exercise, but these drops didn’t have much of an impact on how much they ate after exercise.

However, she says exercise burns calories – about 300 calories per session. This was less than the nearly 1,000 calories the volunteers ate at lunch on average, but hundreds more than when they sat down. Over time, she says, this difference can help with weight control.

There are obvious limitations to the study, of course. He considered one session of moderate, short exercise performed by a couple of dozen out-of-shape participants. People who exercise regularly or do more strenuous workouts may react in different ways. Researchers will need to do more research, including those involving more diverse groups and those conducted over a longer period of time.

But even now, the results have the delicate charm of apple pie. They suggest “people don’t be afraid that if they play sports they overeat,” Halliday said. And according to her, pleasure alone will not affect your weight in the long run. So, eat what you want at the feast and enjoy. Halliday also recommended taking a walk in advance or doing some other physical activity with family and friends, if possible – not to dull appetite, but in order to strengthen their social bonds and be grateful for moving forward together.

Nation World News Desk
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