Health benefits of exercise may not be all about calories

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Exercise has previously been shown to influence appetite without altering calorie consumption If you think exercise is primarily about burning calories, think again. Your muscles and muscle tissue…

Health benefits of exercise may not be all about calories

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Exercise has previously been shown to influence appetite without altering calorie consumption

If you think exercise is primarily about burning calories, think again.

Your muscles and muscle tissue seem to have a naturally programmed preference for certain foods.

The research, published in the journal BMC Human Nutrition, found there was no difference in the amount of appetite-reducing hormones released between men and women – but men had higher levels of norepinephrine.

The findings suggest both sexes need to be vigilant when it comes to targeting appetite in exercise.

The research was led by researchers at Swansea University and included 35 healthy men and women and their exercise level when they ate an average of 1,600 calories per day.

The calorie intake was divided into two identical groups. The first group’s exercise was either on its own or while the others were being fed.

Their food intake was then matched up at the start of the study to ascertain how much an imbalance in the immune response – i.e. how certain foods influence your blood pressure – would impact appetite.

Dr Vanessa Bennett of Swansea University said: “The body’s cortisol response in response to exercise has been shown to have a major effect on appetite and we did find that when the men exercised, so did their cortisol levels.

“What was more surprising is that the women’s cortisol levels were similar, suggesting that, on balance, they were fine with their calorie intake.”

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