If you are looking to choose a healthy post-workout snack, decide early

DN Bureau

A rigorous work out session is almost always followed by an unbearable urge to eat something. The wise choice would be to consume something healthy post-exercise.

File Photo
File Photo

Washington DC: A rigorous work out session is almost always followed by an unbearable urge to eat something. The wise choice would be to consume something healthy post-exercise. 

While A post-exercise snack can threaten to undo the gains or loss of a workout. According to a recent study, simply committing in advance to a post-exercise snack may increase the odds of eating more nutritiously.

Explaining the study Koehler, lead researcher of the study said, “We found that there was very little research on this very tangible thing that I think everyone can relate to. If your goal is to lose weight, then I would say our findings support that you're better off making the choice ... not when you're hungry after your workout, but instead before you go to the gym."

The team reported its findings in the journal Nutrients.

That recommendation, and the data undergirding it, echoes broader research on the dynamics between timing and food choice. Prior studies have consistently shown that people are more willing to indulge when making immediate dietary decisions than when thinking ahead, said Gustafson, assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics.

"Our study confirmed very closely to the ideas in behavioural economics about this present-biased preference. Using solely that model, I would've predicted that people would be more likely to choose the healthy snack when choosing before they exercise," Gustafson said.

The study's design also put two other theoretical models to the test. One, known as compensatory eating, suggests that people consume more calorie-dense food in the aftermath of exercise to make up for calories expended during a workout. Yet the other model, exercise-induced anorexia, proposes that exercise can suppress appetite-related hormones and consequently lead people to eat less.

"There have been a lot of lab studies that have looked at appetite and hunger," Koehler said. "Most of these studies have found that right after exercise, you seem to be less hungry. I've always looked at these studies and wondered: Does it have such a strong impact that you can use this window after you exercise to say, 'Because I'm not hungry, I'm going to make a really good choice about what I eat'? But knowing myself and many other exercises, there's also the notion that after you exercise, you want to reward yourself."

Despite the seeming contradiction, the team found indications of both. Though modest, the 6-per cent increase in brownie choice between the pre- and post-exercise groups supported the notion of compensatory eating. And the evidence for exercise-induced anorexia was clear: The 12-per cent fraction that declined a snack in the pre-exercise condition rose to 25 per cent in the post-exercise group. (ANI)

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