Exercise and food intake

Starting an exercise program: clocking in several hours of hard intense exercise, feeling drained, loosing ounces of sweat and really feeling the burn. So surely this should increase the amount of calories we can have? Seems not, so why does starting an exercise program not necessarily
increase a person’s calorie intake as well? Simply put, your metabolism does not adjust

immediately to the exercise you are doing. When we exercise we burn energy, first the food we have eaten, and then go on to burn into out fat storages. This increase in the burning of energy
increases our metabolic rate and therefore allows us to increase our intake of calories or causes us to lose weight.

Okay, but how does exercise make you want to eat less? Its not just out metabolic rate that changes when we exercise, it also effects your hormones. However there are several hormones involved when exercising.

Okay, but how does exercise reduce appetite?

It’s not just out metabolic rate that changes when we exercise, it also affects your hormones. There are several hormones involved when exercising such as:

Growth Hormone (GH) facilitates protein synthesis in the body

When you have a intense workout, your pituitary gland will produce more Growth Hormone to accelerate recovery. Growth Hormone also promotes growth, cell reproduction and  regeneration.

Aldosterone and Cortisol

Aldosterone limits sodium excretion in the urine, so as to maintain electrolyte balance. Cortisol is a glucocorticoid and plays a major role in maintaining blood glucose by releasing sugar into the bloodstream by the process of gluconeogenesis; cortisol, in other words, increases blood sugar.


When we exercise Insulin is released in order to remove sugar from the blood and to restore blood sugar levels down to normal. More interestingly insulin causes messages to be sent to your brain to suppress appetite in order maintain glucose levels – energy for the brain.

Reasons why exercise will make you eat less (and not more)


Leptin is a hormone made by fat cells, that decreases your appetite. Recent studies have shown that the burning of these fat cells can increase levels of Leptin being dispensed therefore suppressing your appetite thus why exercise will make you eat less. Again the more intense your exercise the more likely larger amounts of leptin are released. Interestingly levels of leptin are lower when you’re thin and higher when you’re fat.

Other reasons why exercise will make you eat less

Behind the science of how exercise can suppress appetite there are much simpler explanations. Feeling good about yourself: you’ve been working on your exercise program for months now and the benefits are really paying off, you’re looking trimmer and you want to stay that way. You therefore keep exercising and eat less/or healthier.

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