Cycling after a meal could help weight lossResearch suggests it can reduce appetite

05 June 2007

Going for a bike ride after meals could be one of the best ways to help shed pounds, a small study has found.

Research published in the Journal of Endocrinology noted that moderate exercise after meals reduced appetite and led to lower intake at the next meal.

Researchers at the University of Surrey and Imperial College London studied how exercise after a meal affected hunger levels, the amount of food eaten at the next meal and the level of hormones produced by the stomach.

Hunger levels

A group of 12 people were given the same breakfast and then split into two groups.

One group exercised on a bike at 65 per cent of their heart rate for an hour, with a short break in the middle, while the other group sat quietly.

After another hour, both groups were given access to a buffet and allowed to eat as much as they wanted.

The people who exercised burned more calories (492 kcal) compared to those who sat quietly (197 kcal).

When given the chance to eat afterwards, the people who exercised ate more (913 kcal) than people who had not (762 kcal).

Energy burned

But when the amount of energy burned during exercise was taken into account, those exercised had taken in less calories overall than those who had not (421kcal versus 565 kcal).

Those in the exercise group also reported lower levels of hunger during the exercise period.

Dr Denise Robertson, who led the study, said: 'In the past we have been concerned that, although exercise burns energy, people subsequently ate more after working out.

'This would cancel out any possible weight reduction effects of exercise.

'Our research found that moderate exercise after a meal may decrease hunger during the exercise itself by increasing the amount of hormones that tell the brain our stomach is full.

Fewer calories

'At the next mealtime, when the amount of energy burned through exercise is taken into account, people who had exercised consume fewer calories than those who hadn't.

'This is an initial study where we only examined a small number of people. We now need to carry out a larger study to confirm this effect, and the mechanisms of how it occurs.

'Our research shows that exercise may alter people's appetite to help them lose weight and prevent further weight gain as part of a healthy, balanced lifestyle.'

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