Brain Drain: Control Appetite After Work

Monday Jun 05th, 2017


Ever notice that you can feel starving after a long day at work even though you’ve spent it mainly at your desk? Scientists, as reported by The New York Times, say it happens because your brain wants more fuel to keep going—even though you probably haven’t been digging ditches or running marathons all day. The problem is that you’re consuming calories your body doesn’t actually need, because your brain is telling you to.

Oddly, the solution to controlling brain-induced appetite is to exercise. In an experiment at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, 38 college students met to discuss their favorite pizza. After the discussion, they were allowed at eat as much pizza as they wanted. That created a control. On another day, they were brought back and given a series of tests from college entrance and graduate-level exams. Afterward, half the students worked out on treadmills while the rest sat quietly. The entire group was again served all the pizza they wanted, but the treadmill group ate less—about 25 fewer calories than at their previous session. On the other hand, the rest of the group actually ate 100 calories more. The study suggests that a light workout after a mentally strenuous day may curb the appetite. So perhaps a brisk walk before dinner is in order?

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