Having a healthy diet can cut the risk of physical and mental health problems. But, avoiding cravings for unhealthy food is something a lot of people find difficult. Luckily, researchers have found that exercising could provide an effective solution to this concern.
According to a study by researchers from Washington State University, intense exercise can help dieters to reduce their cravings for fatty foods and promote weight loss.
For the study, the researchers were investigating new ways to ignore food cravings and maintain healthy habits when dieting, They conducted the study on 30 mice to understand whether exercise could be used to control cravings.
The mice were put through periods where they could press a lever and be rewarded with a high-fat food pellet. Then, they were split into two groups – one completed high-intensity exercise every day, and the other group did no additional exercise.
At the end of the study, the researchers found that, when given access to the lever after 30 days, the group that did the extra exercise was less likely to press the lever for the high-fat food.
Although this suggests that consistent, high-intensity workouts could help with food cravings, the researchers added that they plan to do more work to understand this further.
Researcher Travis Brown 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.
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.”