You'd think that vigorous exercise would make you hungry. We've all used the expression "working up an appetite" at one time or another. But now, new research published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise suggests that a brisk workout might actually reduce the desire for food, reports the Medical XPress.
Researchers at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, measured the neural activity of 35 women on two days, one week apart. On one day, the women spent 45 minutes of their morning exercising, while on the other, they rested. After finishing exercising (or not exercising) the researchers showed the women pictures of food and measured their neural reactions.
Surprise. After working out, the women were far less neurally excited by the images of yummy treats. They also showed an increase in physical activity throughout the day when they had exercised in the morning, and did not overeat later in the day to make up for what they burned.
About half of the women in the study were clinically obese — the researchers were particularly interested in the food consumption motivation of this segment of the population. Interestingly, the obese women responded to the study conditions in the exact same way as the women of healthy weight.
"We wanted to see if obesity influenced food motivation, but it didn't," study co-author James LeCheminant tells to the Daily Mail. "However, it was clear that the exercise bout was playing a role in their neural responses to the pictures of food."
This study basically ruins the "I'll just get hungry and overeat later" excuse for not hitting the gym. Score another one for fabulous side effects of vigorous exercise.