Abs are made in the kitchen, but exercise can help you avoid the kitchen altogether.
At least according to small study conducted by researchers at Loughborough University in Britain. For the study, researchers recruited 16 fit guys and separated them into two classes: one that completed intense bouts of exercise (till they burned 600 calories) and one that completed more workouts (1 for 45 minutes and one for 90 minutes). They asked the men how hungry|men|guys they were, and gave them a blood test to measure their hunger hormone, ghrelin.
The results reveal that exercise does have an impact on appetite and hunger hormones in men , but only if the workouts are long or intense.
Of course, this was a small study of men just — another study found that appetite really spikes when women run, so walking is a much better choice for women looking to maintain their appetites in control while still getting some exercise.
So, the question remains: diet vs exercise, which should be your priority when seeking to lose weight?
For weight loss, it’s calories in vs. calories out
In very simple terms, when you consume more calories than you burn every day, you gain weight. Needless to say, it is not always that simple since our genetics, hormones and environmental factors do play a role, but in the event that you consistently burn more calories than you eat (within reason), you may lose weight.
Exercise is a good tool for overall health, but we are notorious for overestimating how many calories we burn during a workout — and activity trackers and calorie counters on machines tend to be wildly inaccurate.
“It is estimated that 80–90 percentage of weight loss is rooted in our dietary choices,” Frank Lipman, M.D., wrote in an essay for Well + Good. “The sort of nutrition you’re consuming makes a difference. However much you’re burning off in boot camp, what you are eating will impact the way your body either loses or keeps weight.”
So, a calorie is a calorie, but the food containing these calories are going to have an effect on how soon you’re hungry again — which is why you’ll hear so many people argue that a calorie from a single food differs from a calorie from another.
“All calories are not created equal, after all,” wrote Dr. Lipman. “Eating the same amount of broccoli compared to cookies, for instance, will have a vastly different effect on your metabolism. With broccoli, you are becoming a spoonful food (and lots of fiber, one of the secrets to gut health), while biscuits have very few of the vitamins and minerals your body craves. They will, however, give you a sugar high, followed by a crash–and you’ll be ravenous again in no time.”
And keeping a high-stress lifestyle can have an influence on your weight — not directly, but in influencing how hungry you are during the day.
“Despite great efforts in the kitchen, you can derail your weight loss simply by leading a high-anxiety lifestyle–which may result in inflammation, higher cravings for sugar (and potentially a blood sugar imbalance), and sluggish digestion,” said Dr. Lipman.
Can exercise assist you lose weight?
Exercise can increase the amount of calories you burn a day, so as long as you don’t eat the calories back you’ll, in concept, lose weight. However, it shouldn’t be your first weapon in the fight against body fat.
“There are so many other reasons, irrespective of the effects on appetite, why exercise gains health,” study lead David Stensel, a professor of exercise metabolism in Loughborough University, told The New York Times.
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