The Effects of Exercise on Appetite Control

  • Catia Martins
  • Denise Robertson
  • Linda Morgan


In the face of the current obesity epidemic and high prevalence of physical inactivity, it is extremely important to determine how inactivity and exercise (both in the short- and long-term) impact on different aspects of appetite. Exercise has been shown to improve energy compensation by leading to a more sensitive eating behavior in response to previous energy intake (EI). The mechanisms whereby this occurs have yet to be clarified, but exercise has been shown to induce changes in appetite-regulating hormones which may contribute to better appetite control. Acute exercise does not have a significant impact on total ghrelin (TG), independent of its intensity or duration, but increases the release of satiety hormones (polypeptide YY (PYY), glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), and pancreatic polypeptide (PP)). There is some evidence for suppression of acylated ghrelin (AG) after high-intensity and resistance exercise and this, together with increased release of satiety peptides, is likely to contribute to the phenomenon of “exercise-induced anorexia.” Chronic exercise per se does not increase TG plasma levels; however, a compensatory increase may occur in response to exercise-induced weight loss. There is some evidence to suggest that chronic exercise reduces the AG/DG ratio and increases GLP-1, PYY, and PP plasma levels, therefore creating an appetite-inhibitory state which favors weight loss and prevents weight regain. Finally, exercise seems to have a more favorable impact in men compared with women, in terms of the release of appetite-regulating hormones. In conclusion, exercise seems to have a beneficial impact on appetite by improving energy compensation and leading to changes in appetite-regulating hormones toward appetite suppression. These findings reinforce the key role of exercise in body weight management and energy balance. More research is needed to confirm and elucidate the potential link between changes in appetite-regulating hormones in response to exercise and changes in subjective feelings of hunger/fullness, food intake, and weight loss.


Energy Intake Acute Exercise Pancreatic Polypeptide Negative Energy Balance Chronic Exercise 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Energy balance


Energy intake


Relative energy intake


Energy expenditure




Total ghrelin


Acylated ghrelin


Desacyl ghrelin


Polypeptide YY


Glucagon-like peptide-1


Pancreatic polypeptide


Physical activity


Area under the curve


High-energy preload


Low-energy preload


Maximal oxygen consumption



The first author would like to thank the “Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia” (Portugal) for research funding to develop some of the studies described in this chapter.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine, Faculty of MedicineNorwegian University of Science and TechnologyTrondheimNorway

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