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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2015 Jan;47(1):40-8. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000000372.

Effect of moderate- and high-intensity acute exercise on appetite in obese individuals.

Author information

1Obesity Research Group, Department of Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, NORWAY; 2Center for Obesity, Department of Surgery, St. Olavs Hospital-Trondheim University Hospital, Trondheim, NORWAY; 3K. G. Jebsen Center of Exercise in Medicine, Department of Circulation and Medical Imaging, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, NORWAY; 4BioPsychology Group, Institute of Psychological Sciences, University of Leeds, Leeds, UNITED KINGDOM; 5Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, DENMARK; 6Department of Nutrition and Metabolism, University of Surrey, Guildford, UNITED KINGDOM; and 7Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, AUSTRALIA.



The effect of acute exercise, and exercise intensity, on appetite control in obese individuals requires further study. The aim of this study was to compare the effects of acute isocaloric bouts (250 kcal) of high-intensity intermittent cycling (HIIC) and moderate-intensity continuous cycling (MICC) or short-duration HIIC (S-HIIC) (125 kcal) and a resting control condition on the appetite hormone responses, subjective feelings of appetite, energy intake (EI), and food reward in overweight/obese individuals.


This study is a randomized crossover study on 12 overweight/obese volunteers. Participants were assigned to the control, MICC, HIIC, and S-HIIC conditions, 1 wk apart, in a counterbalanced order. Exercise was performed 1 h after a standard breakfast. An ad libitum test lunch was served 3 h after breakfast. Fasting/postprandial plasma samples of insulin, acylated ghrelin, polypeptide YY3-36, and glucagon-like peptide 1 and subjective feelings of appetite were measured every 30 min for 3 h. Nutrient and taste preferences were measured at the beginning and end of each condition using the Leeds Food Preference Questionnaire.


Insulin levels were significantly reduced, and glucagon-like peptide 1 levels significantly increased during all exercise bouts compared with those during rest. Acylated ghrelin plasma levels were lower in the MICC and HIIC, but not in S-HIIC, compared with those in control. There were no significant differences for polypeptide YY3-36 plasma levels, hunger or fullness ratings, EI, or food reward.


Our findings suggest that, in overweight/obese individuals, isocaloric bouts of moderate- or high-intensity exercise lead to a similar appetite response. This strengthens previous findings in normal-weight individuals that acute exercise, even at high intensity, does not induce any known physiological adaptation that would lead to increased EI.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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