Studies Explain Why Exercise Makes You Eat Less, Not More

Studies Explain Why Exercise Makes You Eat Less, Not More

It seems natural that when you exercise you’re going to get more hungry and eat more to fuel yourself. However, as the New York Times points out, that’s not always the case.

Photo by Matt Mechtley.

When we exercise, we usually want to eat to replace the fuel we burned away (and sometimes more), but it turns out that in at least two studies exercise actually decreases hunger for a short period. The New York Times looked at studies published in The International Journal of Obesity and PLoS One to see why this was:

Their appetites were noticeably blunted by each of the interval workouts, and in particular by the most strenuous 15-second intervals... They also displayed significantly lower levels of the hormone ghrelin, which is known to stimulate appetite, and elevated levels of both blood lactate and blood sugar, which have been shown to lessen the drive to eat, after the most vigorous interval session than after the other workouts... And the appetite-suppressing effect of the highly intense intervals lingered into the next day, according to food diaries that the men completed.

That said, there's still a lot of research to do:

That conclusion would seem to be fine news for anyone hoping to deploy exercise to trim a waistline. But Mr. Sim cautions that the studies available to date, including his, are very short-term, covering only one session of the various exercise options. "Whether or not" weeks or months of intense training "would have an impact on long-term weight management remains to be determined," he said.

If nothing else, it's a helpful reminder that your diet and exercise are closely related, and just because you work out doesn't mean you need to start eating more.

How Exercise Can Help Us Eat Less [The New York Times]


  • Yes, exercise makes a difference big time. The only thing is don’t over do it. If you spend too much time in the gym your appetite is going to skyrocket. That’s why its essential to due the right moderation of exercise. Its just like your diet the key is moderation.

    For some programs, that will help keep your diet and exercise in moderation check out

  • I agree with this. I’ve found that after an intense workout (like boxing or cross training) I’m not hungry for about an hour afterwards, even if it would ordinarily be meal time.

Comments are closed.

Log in to comment on this story!