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Exercise Can Curb Your Hunger, Study Reveals

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A good dose of daily exercise can be more effective than cutting calories for people that are trying to eat less, a new study found.

Researchers at Loughborough University studied how hormones, psychology and behavior all intersected in women who were on a calorie-restricted diet or who were required to exercise.

When the women ate less food, their levels of ghrelin - a hormone that controls appetite - rose and their levels of peptide YY, a hunger-suppressing hormone, decreased. When given access to a buffet meal, these women ate almost one-third more than when researchers created the same energy deficit in the women by requiring them to exercise.

Contradictory findings

The findings contradict both existing research on the subject and the theory that exercise makes people prone to eat more.

"Our findings provide a valuable contribution to the diet and exercise debate," said Dr. David Stensel, study investigator. "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."

The study also found the ghrelin and peptide YY hormone responses are the same for both men and women, suggesting that exercise doesn't make one gender more susceptible to appetite changes than the other.

"Our next step is to see whether this benefit continues beyond the first day of exercise," Stensel said.

The study is published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

Source: Loughborough University

Image via Loughborough University