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Intense workouts while dieting may stop cravings for fatty foods

"Exercise is right in front of us with all these benefits.”

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Indoor shot of happy old woman holds two delicious glazed doughnuts over eyes smiles gladfully surrounded by junk food consumes much calories per day wears bathrobe. Cravings for cheat meal.
Cravings for fatty foods could be reduced with intense workouts, the University of Washington study indicated.
(Cast Of Thousands via Shutterstock)

By Pol Allingham via SWNS

Intense workouts while dieting may stop slimmers craving fatty food, suggests a new study.

New research indicates that exercise makes people more restrained around high-fat foods.

Dr. Travis Brown, a Washington State University physiology and neuroscience researcher, said: “A really important part of maintaining a diet is to have some brain power—the ability to say ‘no, I may be craving that, but I’m going to abstain.

“Exercise could not only be beneficial physically for weight loss but also mentally to gain control over cravings for unhealthy foods.”


Researchers remain unsure as to whether food can be addictive like drugs can as not all foods induce addictive behavior, and Dr. Brown said: “No one binge eats broccoli.”

However, people apparently respond to cues such as fast-food ads, enticing them to eat high-fat and high-sugar foods.

Such cues may be harder to resist the longer people diet, the researchers claim, and exercise could be the way to ignore such signals.

Dr. Brown said: “Exercise is beneficial from a number of perspectives: it helps with cardiac disease, obesity and diabetes; it might also help with the ability to avoid some of these maladaptive foods.

“We’re always looking for this magic pill in some ways, and exercise is right in front of us with all these benefits.”

His team physically trained 28 rats and gave them access to a lever that, if pressed, would switch on a light and make a tone before dispensing a fatty pellet.

After the rats were trained they tested to see how often the rats would press the lever, just to get the light and tone cue.

Laughing senior and multiethnic sports people putting hands together at park. Happy group of men and women smiling and stacking hands outdoor. Multiethnic sweaty team cheering after intense training.
The study found that rats who were given intensive workouts had reduced cravings for fatty foods. (Ground Picture via Shutterstock)

The researchers then divided the rats into two groups - one faced a regime of high-intensity treadmill running, and the other didn’t work out any more than usual.

Both teams were denied access to the high-fat pellets for 30 days.

They were finally allowed access to the pellets at the end of the period, but when they pressed the levers they only gave the light and tone cues.

The rats that didn’t work out pressed the levels far more than the rats that did exercise - despite no pellets coming out - suggesting exercise reduces the cravings for high-fat food.

Scientists found rats on a 30-day diet strongly resisted the temptation to eat high-fat food pellets.

The amount the rodents worked out affected how hard they were willing to work to eat the high-fat pellets, demonstrating how much they craved them.

The experiment was designed to test how exercise could create resistance to the phenomenon where the longer a desired substance is denied, the harder it is to resist the signals for it - otherwise known as the “incubation of craving.”

The study was published in the journal Obesity and the research team announced future studies would investigate how different levels of exercise impact this type of craving, as well as exactly how exercise works in the brain to curb the desire for high-fat food.

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