News: Routine exercise may help beat post-gym binges
Glad I’m not the only one craving a juicy burger and salty fries post-workout.
How long, how frequent and what kind of exercise you do may account for what types of food you crave after exercising, according to two studies discussed in Monday’s NY Times health blog.
A study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that for young, physically active individuals, an hour of exercise could leave you less likely to indulge in unhealthy foods.
Participants were split into two groups, either undergoing vigorous exercise or no-exercise for one hour. After the hour, they were shown pictures of high-energy (cheeseburgers, hot dogs and ice cream sundaes) and low-energy foods (fresh fruits and vegetables).
The study found that exercise reduced both liking (pleasure derived from eating) and wanting (anticipating consumption) of food in general, and more specifically, high-energy food.
In contrast, a study published in the Journal of Obesity last year found that exercise may have the opposite effect on the brain if you’re inactive and obese.
Participants underwent a 12-week exercise program, burning 500 calories per workout five days a week. The study found that the individuals that lost the least total fat mass during the program, just one or two pounds if any, had higher brain responses to high-fat sweet foods after working-out. The group that lost the most fat mass, 11 pounds on average, did not experience such cravings.
Both studies note however that regular moderate-intensity exercise may curb initial high-energy food cravings after exercising.
That being said, I think I’ve found a solution. To ensure I don’t binge on high-caloric foods after hitting the gym, I satisfy my appetite while exercising.
I watch the Food Network.
Watching Anna Olson bake scrumptious cakes and brownies somehow leaves me satiated (perhaps because I’m salivating on the tread-mill).
What do you crave to eat after exercising?
—Amy Crofts, web intern