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Researchers at BYU have found evidence that moderate-to-vigorous bouts of exercise in the morning may leads to a reduced motivation for food.
The study monitored the neural activity of 35 women as they viewed images of food both on a morning after a 45 minute bout of exercise and on a morning with no exercise.
The results showed a decreased attentional response to the food pictures after the workout.
The experiment was conducted over two separate days on 18 normal-weight women and 17 clinically obese women. All the subjects walked briskly on a treadmill on the first day and then had their brain waves measured in the next hour.
On the second day, one week later, the subjects brain waves were also recorded, but without the exercise. Food consumption and physical activity was also recorded for both experiment days.
Results showed that the brain responses to food images on the exercise day were not only lower, but that the overall activity level of the subjects increased for that day.
Researchers say further study is needed to determine how long the reduced food motivation lasts after a bout of exercise.