Effects of Exercise on Food Intake and Satiety

‘Adherence’ is the decisive factor of success of any dieting strategy Adherence is vastly affected by satiety. Any strategy that can help us manage hunger will thereby improve adherence.

Recent studies confirm that exercise alters levels of hormones that deal with appetite and might have a positive effect.

How exercise affects appetite in general?

High intensity aerobic exercise (>60%VO2peak) seems to have greater effects on temporary appetite suppression due to certain hormone alterations in lean individuals(ref4). Overweight individuals do not seem to show any such response when you compare several studies (ref1). There are some studies with varying opinion (ref 3) in the latter case.

In lean individuals, the suppression seems to be temporary and appetite reaches to the basal level in an hour approximately. However, even high intensity aerobic exercise does not seem to affect overall caloric consumption per day in the short term.

Chronic effects of exercise in lean and overweight are extremely varying in results. This can be mostly attributed to choice of poor comparative parameters to rely on Also, methods like self-reporting of caloric consumption, seem to be highly inaccurate specially when the subjects are overweight/obese.

Effects of exercise in relation with certain other factors?

Gender and adiposity (fat) variation in combination with acute exercise does not seem to effect total caloric intake (ref1). In terms of chronic exercise, there are some reported variations that show females having greater hormonal variations. However, these studies are poorly structured with short time period, poor choice in group selection, etc


The overall evidence is in favor of the existence of temporary appetite suppression after high intensity exercise in leaner individuals. Nothing else can be said strongly as of now.

There is some evidence of better hunger mediation and suppression in obese diabetics (ref2), but researchers have only measured temporary effects. Resistance training in diabetics, has shown positive effects of hunger perception and feeling of fullness. This study doesn’t comment on total energy intake per day change.


  • As hunger suppression effects of exercise are reported to be short lived all this data concludes to just one good application: Incorporate exercise around the time that you are likely to binge on snacks or at a time where you may easily overeat,
  •  Though high intensity aerobic exercise seems to have a strong correlation to appetite control, there are postulated pathways which suggest habitual resistance exercise (more frequent i.e. >4 times/ week) may also give overall hunger mediating benefits.
  • Exercise alone (aerobic or anaerobic) as a strategy to control weight, without any other intervention in lifestyle and dietary habits does not seem to affect satiety levels and hence may prove very less effective for successful fat/weight loss.


https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6164815/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4715580/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25372381 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3761859/

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