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Appetite. 2009 Feb;52(1):155-60. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2008.09.004. Epub 2008 Sep 13.

Acute effects of brisk walking on urges to eat chocolate, affect, and responses to a stressor and chocolate cue. An experimental study.

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School of Sport & Health Sciences, University of Exeter, St Lukes, Heavitree Road, Exeter EX1 2LU, UK.


The study aimed to investigate the effects of an acute exercise bout on urges to eat chocolate, affect, and psychological and physiological responses to stress and a chocolate cue. Following 3 days of chocolate abstinence, 25 regular chocolate eaters, took part, on separate days, in two randomly ordered conditions, in a within-subject design: a 15-min brisk semi-self-paced brisk walk or a passive control. Following each, participants completed two tasks: the Stroop colour-word interference task, and unwrapping and handling a chocolate bar. Chocolate urges [State Food Cravings Questionnaire (FCQ-S); Rodríguez, S., Fernández, M. C., Cepeda-Benito, A., & Vila, J. (2005). Subjective and physiological reactivity to chocolate images in high and low chocolate cravers. Biological Psychology, 70, 9-18], affective activation [Felt Arousal Scale; Svebak, S., & Murgatroyd, S. (1985). Metamotivational dominance: a multimethod validation of reversal theory constructs. Journal of Perception and Social Psychology, 48, 107-116], affective pleasure/valence [Feelings Scale; Hardy, C. J., & Rejeski, W. J. (1989). Not what, but how one feels: the measurement of affect during exercise. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 11, 304-317], and systolic/diastolic blood pressure (SBP/DBP) were assessed throughout. Exercise reduced chocolate urges and there was a trend towards attenuated urges in response to the chocolate cue. Exercise also attenuated SBP/DBP increases in response to the stressor and chocolate cue. The effects on urges varied across the dimensions of the FCQ-S.

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