After answering the first questionnaire, participants performed 45 minutes of aerobic exercise on a bicycle ergometer. Immediately afterwards, they completed the electronic questionnaire a second time and then a third time after a 30-minute break. The procedure for the group without training was identical; instead of 45 minutes of physical activity, these participants had a rest break.
Compared to the rest break, exercise provided a greater increase in the amount of food chosen, both immediately after exercise and 30 minutes afterwards. Physical activity also resulted in a greater increase in preference for immediate food consumption both immediately after exercise and 30 minutes afterwards.
"Based on this study, we were able to show for the first time that certain characteristics, such as the amount and 'urgency' with which a person wants to eat, change over the course of physical exertion," said Prof. Köhler, classifying the results. "These findings help us develop new interventions to optimize weight loss through exercise."
The present results suggest that compensatory increases in food intake after exercise are the result of an increased preference for food quantity combined with an increased tendency for more immediate food intake. The fact that changes in food choice occur during and following exercise emphasizes the importance of the timing of food choice in the context of exercise.
"Considering that weight loss is a primary motive for exercising for many, and failure to achieve desired weight loss makes quitting exercise likely, our findings could improve long-term adherence to exercise programs and contribute to favorable health outcomes via weight loss," Prof. Köhler said. "Ultimately, of course, you have to find the right balance. But sport should definitely not be used as an excuse to eat more!"
Prof. Dr. Karsten Köhler
Assistant Professorship of Exercise, Nutrition and Health
phone: 089 289 24488
Text: Romy Schwaiger