If you were to go running there’s a good chance you’ll be yearning for an apple instead of a doughnut afterwards, suggests a recent brain imaging study, and that may be because your brain is pushing you towards water.
Physical activity is one factor that can influence our appetite, possibly by its role in altering our brain signals related to hunger and pleasure. This study focused on bouts of a high-intensity activity: running.
The study was small — 15 lean men — but it may help explain how exercise relates to hunger and overall health. It was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
In the study, the men first ran for an hour and then at a later day, they rested for an hour. For each trial, the men had easy access to water.
Ten minutes after they ran or rested, researchers scanned specific areas of the men’s brain as they looked at two dozen food images. In random order, they saw images of high-calorie foods — such as brownies, ice cream, pizza and fried chicken — and low calorie foods, including grapes, apples, lettuce, and carrots. (They also saw two dozen images of non-food items.) Continue reading