While on a diet, do you still crave cheesy fries and burgers? A study on mice found that high-intensity exercise can reduce your desire for fatty foods.
Washington State University conducted a study that showed rats following a rigorous diet of high-fat food and exercise for 30 days, with the hope that this will help human dieters.
This experiment was intended to test resistance to “incubation, or craving,” which means that the longer the desired substance is not denied, the more difficult it is to ignore the signals.
According to the research published in Obesity, exercise may have modulated the amount of work the rats would do for cues about the pellets. It could also reflect how much they crave them.
The study, which still needs more research, may show that exercise can help with restraint in certain food choices, said Travis Brown (a Washington State University neurophysiology researcher).
Brown stated that maintaining a healthy diet requires brain power. He said, “An important part of keeping a diet is being able to say no, I may be craving it, but I’m going not to eat.”
“Exercise may not only be good for weight loss, but also for mental control over your cravings for unhealthy foods.”
Brown and WSU colleagues and University of Wyoming colleagues put 28 rats through training using a lever that, when pressed, turns on a light and makes a tone before dispensing high-fat pellets.
After the training period, the team tested how often the rats would press on the lever to activate the tone and light cues.
Researchers then divided the rats into 2 groups. The treadmill-running group was given high intensity, while the running group received no exercise beyond their normal activity. Each group of rats was denied high-fat pellets access for 30 days.
The researchers allowed the rats to access the levers that had once dispersed the pellets. However, this time the levers were pressed and they gave only the tone cue and light cue.
Exercise reduced the desire for pellets in rats that were not exercised.