March 9, 2016

Does exercising increase your hunger pangs?

If you have been trying to lose weight and are vigorously pursuing exercise and other workouts, you might have wondered whether exercise makes you feel more hungrier than usual.

I've also pondered over this issue - whether  exercise increases our hunger pangs or suppresses our appetite!

Alright, let me give you some background. A few years ago, when I had put on some kilos and was trying to shed some weight, I found that exercise alone won't help.

Along with exercise, one must do some portion control, introduce a few diet restrictions  and cut calories in order to lose weight.  And that's what I did! I didn't attempt something drastic like Atkins, Paleo, Keto and other types of diet fads.

I lost up to 7 kilos within a period of 6 months by this method, which was not bad at all.






So what was my experience? Did I feel more hungry after a workout? Did it made me eat more?You would be surprised to know that the answer was "no". I didn't feel more hungry afterwards.

At least in my opinion, it's a myth that  if you exercise more, you will feel more hungry. Exercise does not in any way increase your hunger pangs and make you eat more. And a study agrees with what I think!

Exercise doesn't make you hungrier while calorie restriction does!


It's calorie restriction sans exercise that can make you want to eat more, at least this is what is evident from this study conducted by scientists at Loughborough University. Excerpts:

Where an energy (calorie) deficit was achieved by food restriction, participants showed increased levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin and lower levels of a hunger suppressing hormone peptide YY. They also ate almost a third more at a buffet meal compared with another occasion when the same energy deficit was created via exercise.

The findings contradict previous studies that suggest exercise makes people -- in particular women -- eat more. They also show the response of the hormones ghrelin and peptide YY to exercise is the same for both men and women.

Dr Stensel, a Reader in Exercise Metabolism in Loughborough's School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, said: "Our findings provide a valuable contribution to the diet and exercise debate. 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.

 
However I have to add that another older study says that exercise reduces hunger only in lean women and not in obese women.

Katarina Borer, PhD, a University of Michigan researcher and lead author of the study, said "This lack of appetite suppression may promote greater food intake after exercise in obese women. This information will help therapists and physicians understand the limitations of exercise in appetite control for weight loss in obese people."

She adds: "Obese women perhaps need to consciously watch their calories because some of the hormonal satiety [fullness] signals don't seem to work as well." 

 

My Take:

 
I concur with the results of the first study. While it's true that I achieved weight loss due to a combination of exercise and calorie restriction, I have personally found out that I'm not particularly hungry even after a few hours of a moderately taxing yoga regimen or a strenuous workout.

It's only when I haven't eaten well that I feel particularly ravenous during the next meal; and this usually happened on the day when I didn't exercise.

I can't speak up for the obese women because I was never obese. But from the second study, it looks like obese women have to be very cautious and take care not to overeat after exercise as they tend to feel more hungry.

So as suggested by Dr. Borer, they need to keep a mindful watch on their calorie intake during their weight shedding, exercise regimen.

Over To You:

So what was your experience after exercising? Did it make you feel hungrier or did it suppress your appetite? Do share in he comments.



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