Exercise can create fatty food cravings

Different types of exercise trigger different food cravings

Woman exercising
Woman exercising

Different types of exercise trigger different food cravings

Different types of exercise can trigger specific food cravings, according to a new study.

The research has found that some exercise can cause cravings for healthy food such as fruit, whilst other activities lead to a desire for chocolate and sweets.

Dr David Stensel, the country's leading expert on sport and exercise science, says that a long swim can leave people gagging for high-fat foods such as biscuits but pumping iron makes us crave carbs.

'Some people are concerned that exercise will make them want to eat more, but the good news is that there doesn't necessarily have to be that compensation,' said Stensel.

'While some high-intensity exercise, such as running in hot conditions, suppresses the ghrelin hormone, which stimulates appetite, other high-intensity exercise, such as swimming in cold water, actually increases the hormone which, in turn, increases hunger.

'In addition, medium - to low-intensity exercise, such as walking, has no impact on ghrelin, meaning you are as hungry after a one-hour walk as you are if you sat in a chair for the same period of time.'

Stensel added that the cravings could be psychological: 'The body tends to respond to exercise so it can do it more efficiently in future. The lighter you are, the better for long-distance running, so your body will crave watery foods that lower your body temperature by rehydration while not piling on the pounds.

'But if you are making your body lift weights, then you will crave carb- and protein-rich foods that will bulk up your muscles. Similarly, if you are regularly swimming in cold water, your body benefits if your brain guides you towards foods that will give you a layer of protective fat.'