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Effects of exercise and restrained eating behaviour on appetite control

  • Catia Martins (a1), M. Denise Robertson (a1) and Linda M. Morgan (a1)

Obesity is a global epidemic; increased consumption of energy-dense food and reduced physical activity levels are likely to be the main drivers. Previous cross-sectional research has shown that sedentary males, unlike their active counterparts, are unable to compensate for previous energy intake (EI). Using a longitudinal design a 6-week exercise intervention was found to improve short-term appetite control, leading to a more ‘sensitive’ eating behaviour in response to previous EI, both acutely at a test meal and for the next 24 h. Although the mechanisms whereby acute and chronic exercise improves short-term appetite remain unknown, post-ingestive satiety peptides are likely to be involved. Acute exercise was found to increase postprandial levels of polypeptide YY, glucagon-like peptide-1 and pancreatic polypeptide but to have no impact on ghrelin, suggesting that exercise can trigger physiological changes in satiety hormone secretion that could help in appetite control and weight maintenance. In the context of an increased availability of highly-palatable food, dietary restraint may be increasingly important. Although restraint has been associated with abnormal eating behaviour, in the laboratory no counter-regulation was found in restrained eaters when presented with a buffet meal 60 min after a high-energy preload or when a pasta-meal was presented 3 h after preloading. Although restraint was not found to impact on polypeptide YY or TAG, lower postprandial glucose and insulin plasma levels were observed in restrained eaters, together with increased feelings of fullness. In conclusion, short-term appetite control seems to be favourably modified by exercise, while the impact of restraint on appetite seems to be more complex.

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*Corresponding author: Catia Martins, fax +44 1483 686401, email
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