Have you ever worked out and afterward couldn’t bear the thought of food? It turns out there is a scientific reason you may feel this way.
Exercise affects your body’s production of two essential hormones related to appetite. Peptide YY functions as an appetite-suppressing hormone, while ghrelin increases your appetite.
Exercise can decrease your levels of ghrelin, the “hunger” hormone, while simultaneously raising your levels of peptide YY, the “satiety” hormone, giving a one-two punch to your appetite. Medical News Today noted that exercise also affects other hormones related to hunger, such as insulin and leptin.
According to Rebecca Crochiere, Ph.D., a third-year graduate student at Drexel University’s College of Arts and Sciences who published a study on the effects of exercise and appetite, there are two reasons why you may cringe at the thought of food after a workout.
“Some evidence suggests that following exercise, hormones are released that reduce hunger and food intake,” she told Runner’s World. “Another potential explanation is that exercise boosts mood or self-esteem, which then improves motivation to eat well or within one’s diet.”
This mainly happens after an intense workout (where you would find it difficult to hold a conversation).
But just because you’re not hungry doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat. About an hour after your workout, your body begins to reset to its resting state, and eating a protein-rich meal or protein shake is advised to replenish glycogen levels that aid in repair.
But what if you feel hungry after exercising? Does that mean that your workout was not intense enough? If glycogen levels are depleted before or during your training session, then you could have hunger pains.
Hunger pangs also could be attributed to dehydration, so staying hydrated before, during, and after your workout will keep ravenous hunger at bay.