Background: In addition to effects on body weight and composition, it is becoming apparent that exercise training improves markers of appetite control. Several studies have focused on homeostatic appetite responses to exercise training (e.g. appetite-related peptides, gastric emptying, satiety and food intake), but little is known on its effects on food reward and susceptibility to overeating.
Methods: This study examined changes in food reward and eating behaviour traits after a supervised 12-week exercise intervention (2500 kcal/week) in inactive individuals with overweight and obesity (n=46, 30 females/16 males; BMI=30.6±3.8 kg/m2; age=43.2±7.5 years) compared to non-exercising controls (n=15; 9 females/6 males; BMI=31.4±3.7 kg/m2; age=41.4±10.7 years). Liking and wanting for high-fat relative to low-fat foods (Leeds Food Preference Questionnaire) was assessed before and after consumption of an isoenergetic high-fat (HFAT) or high-carbohydrate (HCHO) lunch. Psychometric eating behaviour traits were assessed using the Three-Factor Eating Questionnaire and Binge Eating Scale. Body composition was also measured (air displacement plethysmography).
Results: The 12-week intervention produced a mean weight loss of 1.8 kg in Exercisers (P<0.001, ηp2=0.27, 95%CI=−2.6 to −1.0 kg), compared to a weight gain of 1.3 kg in Controls (P=0.06, ηp2=0.06, 95%CI=−0.04 to 2.7 kg). A week by group interaction indicated that wanting decreased from baseline to post-intervention in Exercisers only (MΔ=−4.1, P=0.03, ηp2=0.09, 95%CI=−7.8 to −0.4), but there were no exercise effects on liking. There was also a week by group interaction for binge eating, which decreased from baseline to post-intervention in Exercisers only (MΔ=−1.5, P=0.01, ηp2=0.11, 95%CI=−2.7 to −0.4). A small reduction in disinhibition was also apparent in Exercisers (MΔ=−0.7, P=0.02, ηp2=0.10, 95%CI=−1.3 to −0.1).
Conclusions: This study showed that 12 week of exercise training reduced wanting for high-fat foods and trait characteristics of overeating in inactive individuals with overweight/obesity compared to non-exercising controls. Exercise therefore improves the ability of people to control their eating behaviour.
Keywords: Food reward, eating behaviour traits, obesity, exercise
12 Sep 2019 - 13 Sep 2019