Does exercise actually make you hungrier?

David Buer
There is research on both sides of this that is conflicting.  Some studies found that exercise -- especially if it’s intense -- increases appetite, but newer research shows that a strenuous workout can actually reduce cravings.
Appetite and hunger responses are complex, and they vary from individual to individual. Several factors come into play, like your genetics, gender and hormone levels. And your current level of fitness, social surroundings and your motivation all can influence hunger.
What I’ve found is that when you’re putting in the effort and working out, your body is burning fuel, so you need to take in more calories. The harder you train, the more fuel your body needs to function and go on to perform the rest of your daily tasks.
If you go into a workout fueled by a healthy, balanced diet, you should be able to make careful food choices throughout the day. That helps re-train your brain to respond appropriately to hunger cues: Mind over matter!
New research suggests that 45 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise in the morning, may actually reduce a person’s motivation to eat. In the recent study, the researchers measured the neural activity of 35 women as they looked at pictures of food on mornings with and also without an exercise effort. When the results were compared, the women overall seemed to be less interested in food after the exercise sessions.
The researchers concluded that exercise not only helps with burning calories (energy output) but also may affect how people respond to food cues, especially shortly after exercise. An additional observation was the fact that the women seemed to intuitively add more exercise throughout the day, on the days that they exercised in the morning. Also noted was the observation that the women did not “eat extra” to make up for the calories burned on the exercise days.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.