Hard training trounces dieting when it comes to weight loss

Proof of what many have long known – that hard training trounces dieting when it comes to weight loss – came in the form of a scientific study from experts at Loughborough University.

Some previous research has suggested that exercise makes people – in particular women – eat more, partly due to the response of the so-called hunger hormones ghrelin and peptide YY. But Dr David Stensel, a reader in exercise metabolism at Loughborough’s School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, produced findings that suggested the opposite in his study.

A group of 12 women took part in the trial that involved calorie intake being restricted either through diet or a moderate-intensity 90-minute treadmill run. When appetite responses were measured over a nine-hour period afterwards, findings showed that a calorie deficit through food restriction resulted in increased levels of ghrelin and lower levels of a hunger-suppressing hormone peptide YY. As a consequence, the women ate almost a third more calories at a buffet meal than after they achieved the same energy deficit through running.

In all, participants consumed an average 944 calories after dieting compared to 660 calories after the exercise trial.

“Our findings provide a valuable contribution to the diet and exercise debate. We’ve shown that exercise does not make you hungrier or encourage you to eat more – at least not in the hours immediately following it,” says Dr Stensel.

“Our next step is to see whether this benefit continues beyond the first day of exercise.”

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