A surprising tip to help curb your appetite

Looking for a tip to help decrease your appetite. Research suggests exercise could be the key. That’s one more positive to add to the list of health benefits regular exercise provides.

Investigations have shown that exercise can decrease your appetite by changing the levels of hormones that drive your state of hunger.

The science

The theory is that the exercise influences the hormones which affect the hunger and satisfaction parts of your brain. It is thought that exercise reduces gherlin, which is the body’s primary hunger hormone and increases leptin, which is responsible for making us feel full and satisfied.

Also during exercise, your body is required to shuttle much of the blood supply to the heart, brain and muscles. This means that blood supply is directed away from your digestive system, which results in a slowed digestion process. Essentially the harder or longer you exercise, the more blood you’re pulling away from the gut, and potentially the less hungry you’re going to feel.

What type of exercise is best for keeping hunger at bay?

A study in 2017 by the University of Western Australia concluded that completing exercises that are self-selected (i.e. that you have chosen voluntarily, rather than exercises you have no choice over) lowered the amount of kilojoules consumed in the subsequent meal, as well as reduce the portion of unhealthy foods in the meal after exercising.

So the answer is do whatever exercise you want – go for a brisk walk, take a bike ride, go for a swim or lift some weights. The focus should be on getting out there and moving. All exercise is beneficial. Read our factsheet for more information on the benefits of exercise. 

If you find that temptation and hunger overrides your willpower in the late afternoon you might consider a small bout of exercise to help tide you over to your next meal!

 But what if your workout is leaving you with a stomach that is growling for food?

The secret is to plan you post-exercise meal ahead of time before you work up a sweat. Try and make sure this meal is nutrient-rich, and contains high fibre, so you fill up on nutrient rich foods rather than high kilojoule, low-satiety foods.

Call our Helpline on 1800 177 055 and speak with a dietitian if you need advice on healthy eating after a workout.

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