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An Unexpected Way to Gain Control Over Your Hunger

8/22 9:28:54

You know that there are lots of easy tricks that can help you consume fewer calories; you can eat a salad before dinner so that you eat less of your entrée; you can drink more water so that you don't confuse hunger with hydration. The latest trick? You can also start a workout routine, according to a new study published in Appetite journal.

Researchers divided 117 inactive adults, ages 18 to 50, into two groups for two separate experiments. ("Inactive adults" in this case, were defined as those who exercised for less than 30 minutes twice a week.) The first group was told to either do no exercise at all or to do 40 minutes of aerobic exercise three times a week for two weeks. Similarly. the second group was told to either do no exercise at all or to do 40 minutes of aerobic exercise once a week, three times a week, or five times a week. The researchers also asked all participants to come into the lab and rate how much they wanted certain high-cal and low-cal foods—both at baseline and also once the experiment was completed.

In the first experiment, the participants who had exercised for two weeks reported wanting fewer high-cal foods than those who didn't exercise. However, there wasn't a significant difference in how much they reported wanting low-cal foods. In the second experiment, those who had exercised three or five times a week also said they wanted fewer high-cal foods than those who exercised once a week or didn't sweat at all. But here’s the big difference: Those who'd exercised the most—five days a week—reported wanting more low-cal foods by study’s end than those who exercised for all of the other amounts of time.

The takeaway? Exercising three to five times per week may make you crave less junk food overall. What's more, if you really up the ante and work out at least five times a week, you may even start to crave more low-cal foods. Just more proof that exercise does your body good.

Ready to try a workout routine, but not sure where to begin? You might want to scope out these fitness products that will help you commit to be fit. 

MORE: 4 Times to Outsmart Temptation

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