The Appetite Workout
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A related study published in December looked at the effects of moderate exercise, the equivalent of brisk jogging. It found that after 12 weeks, formerly sedentary, overweight men and women began recognizing, without consciously knowing it, that they should not overeat.
Researchers gave volunteers doctored milkshakes. Some contained maltodextrin, a flavorless sweetener that packed 600 calories into the drinks. The others, without maltodextrin, had 246 calories. Before beginning the exercise program, the volunteers ate more at a buffet lunch and throughout the rest of the day after drinking the high-calorie shake than when they were given the lower-calorie version. Their appetite regulation was out of whack.
But after three months of exercise, the volunteers consumed fewer calories throughout the day when they had the high-calorie shake than the lower-calorie one. Exercise "improves the body's ability to judge the amount of calories consumed and to adjust for that afterward," says Catia Martins, a professor at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, who led the study.
But not all exercise. Running, it would seem, better hones the body's satiety mechanisms than walking. And longevity counts. You need to stick with the program for several months,
Martins says, to truly fine-tune appetite control.