“When I exercise I eat more,” is a common statement I get from clients at the gym. This could be another excuse from clients or this could be fact. For many years, scientists thought that exercise increased certain hormones in the body. Some responded to this hormone by eating more and some ate less. However, new findings are pointing to another key factor. Exercise may change the desire to eat by altering how parts of your brain response to the sight of food.
California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, did an experiment on 30 men and women. The brain waves of each person where tracked with an MRI machine to watch firing patterns. They were tracked for 2 sessions. One session, they rode a bike for an hour and then were shown various photos of food while their brain waves were watched through the MRI machine. The same thing was done after an hour or relaxing sitting time.
“They watched a series of photos flash onto computer screens. Some depicted low-fat fruits and vegetables or nourishing grains, while others showcased glistening cheeseburgers, ice cream sundaes and cookies. A few photos that weren’t of food were interspersed into the array.
In the volunteers who’d been sitting for an hour, the food-reward system lit up, especially when they sighted high-fat, sugary items.
But if they had worked out for an hour first, those same people displayed much less interest in food, according to their brain scans. Their insula and other portions of the food-reward system remained relatively quiet, even in the face of sundaes (source).”
This research wasn’t just about eating or not eating, it was about eating the right foods. Even is you are hungry after exercising, your brain will make better choices.
In the past, scientist thought that hormones were responsible for our hunger and eating patterns. This new science suggests that we as humans, have to ability to change what our body craves based on the amount of exercise we do. It makes sense why sitting in an office chair creates an urge to eat sugary, high fat foods, while exercising at the gym sends us home eating salads, fruits, and lean meats.
“Dr. Habogian, who conducted some of the first studies of exercise and the hormones. “But I’m more and more convinced that it’s the brain. Hormones don’t tell you to go eat. Your brain does. And if we can get the dose right, exercise might change that message.”
If you have a client, friend or family member who is struggling to eat consistently healthy, then this could be the cure they are looking for. This fitness tip shows that exercise can cure the yoyo eating cycle of bad foods and binging. Spread the word and print this article for others to read and enjoy. ’We love helping you, one tip at a time.”
CPT, BS, CES, PES