Thursday, November 25, 2010

Want to Lose Fat? Don't Reward Yourself with Food!

At my gym, I see it over and over again: people staring at the calorie counter of the stairmaster, dreaming of the pot of icecream which is already waiting for them in the fridge. Don't be so stupid or you will end up like the "non-responders" in a recent study on exercise-induced weight-loss done by scientists from the University of Leeds (Finlayson. 2010).

The scientists observed 34 sedentary obese males and females who participated in a 12-week supervised exercise intervention prescribed to expend 500 kcal/day, 5 d/week and classified them into responders (losing weight) and non-responders (maintaining or even increasing weight). By this means the scientists identified a certain pattern of increased appetite in high-fat sweet foods in the non-responders:

 Food reward (ratings of liking and wanting, and relative preference by forced choice pairs) for an array of food images was assessed before and after an acute exercise bout. Results. 20 responders and 14 non-responders were identified. R lost 5.2 kg ± 2.4 of total fat mass and NR lost 1.7 kg ± 1.4. After acute exercise, liking for all foods increased in NR compared to no change in R. Furthermore, NR showed an increase in wanting and relative preference for high-fat sweet foods.
While, obviously, many of you may suffer from those "symptoms" the way to get and stay lean is not to give in to those lustrous desires, but to make healthy food choices 24/7 no matter how many calories you think you have left in the gym hours before.