That regular pang for a sugary afternoon treat, or a naughty take-away after a tough day at work, is sometimes hard to ignore. We all know that succumbing to our junk food cravings is bad for us, but sometimes the temptation is just too hard to resist.
But according to a new study, there could be an easy solution to stop us craving those gloriously unhealthy foods – and interestingly, it’s exercise.
The study conducted by University of Leeds, revealed that exercise acted as a ‘buffer’, to help nip those nagging cravings in the bud.
The research tracked the participants’ cardio respiratory fitness levels, their body composition, and their fitness levels, and then tracked their appetities, tastes and fullness levels over a two-day period.
The results found that the people with the highest levels of fitness were less likely to give in to cravings for the bad stuff by 10% – which is 15% more than the people with the lowest levels of fitness.
Researcher Dr Graham Finlayson said, “It is the first study looking at the reward value of food.
“What we found is that there is a clear relationship between the amount of moderate to vigorous physical activity – raising your heart rate and building up a sweat – and the desire to eat high fat food.
“People that did the least exercise found high fat food the most rewarding while those that did the most found it less appealing. I don’t think that’s been known before.”
Dr Finlayson continued to explain that it meant people who exercise regularly get that feeling of satisfaction and reward from their activity, rather than from their food.
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He said, “We can speculate that people who already get their daily reward and enjoyment from exercise, are less likely to succumb to the temptation of fatty food.
“People are looking to get a certain amount of reward in their lives and you can get it from different sources.”
However, researchers from the trail have said that the study can’t confirm high levels of activity leads to a lower desire for high-fat foods, as the findings were only observational.