News Flash: Why You’re Not Hungry After A Workout And How One Country Slashed Its Soda Habit

Every week, we’re bringing you a roundup of the latest health and wellness news to hit the wire. This week, we look at research that shows how your appetite can be suppressed by running or strength training and how the Chilean government managed to steer its overwhelmingly obese population away from sodas.

Exercise can be an appetite suppressant

If you’ve ever gotten home from a workout at the gym and wondered why you weren’t hungry but on your rest day you couldn’t wait to chow down, your answer can be found in this Runner’s World article.

A study published in the journal Health Psychology found that exercise can put a damper on your appetite and prevent you from overeating.

A group of 130 participants between 18 and 70 years old was asked to exercise for one year and given a graduated fitness routine that maxed out at 250 minutes per week, in line with government recommendations. Each person wore a fitness tracker to measure their activity, and they were given a daily calorie goal based on their body mass index.

After the study period was over, researchers found that on those days when participants didn’t exercise, they were 12 percent more likely to overeat (or exceed their daily goal).

But when participants exercised for 60 minutes, their risk of overeating was cut by more than half to only 5 percent. And for every additional 10 minutes of exercise beyond an hour, the chances that the participant would overeat dropped by 1 percent.

Surprisingly, the biggest curb to overeating came not from moderate to vigorous activity such as running or a tough boot camp but from light physical activity such as walking at a leisurely pace.

How does it suppress your appetite? Lead study author Rebecca Crochiere of Drexel University says exercise releases a hormone, peptide YY, that reduces the feelings of hunger. Moreover, when people work out, their mood is boosted, and they feel more confident and motivated to eat well.

Could one of the solutions to America’s obesity epidemic be found in Chile?

Four years ago, the Chilean government embraced sweeping measures to combat mounting obesity, and according to this New York Times article, they’re paying off. Chileans are drinking nearly 25 percent fewer sugary beverages such as soda and sweetened juice in the 18 months after new front-of-package warning labels, advertising restrictions on unhealthy foods and a ban on junk food in schools were enacted, according to a study in the journal PLOS Medicine. During the same period, researchers recorded a 5 percent increase in purchases of bottled water, diet soda and fruit juices without added sugar.

An effect this big in such a short period is unheard of, says lead author Lindsey Smith Taillie, Ph.D., a nutrition epidemiologist at the University of North Carolina, and could provide a road map for new policies around the world to combat preventable diseases like obesity, Type 2 diabetes and hypertension.

Chile had one of the world’s highest obesity rates when it adopted the rules, with three-quarters of Chilean adults and more than half of children considered obese. Its success with these rules, enacted over fierce objections from big multinational food companies, has sparked labeling changes in Peru, Uruguay and Israel. Brazil and Mexico are expected to finalize similar labels in the coming months, and a dozen other countries also are considering changes.

As part of the new rules, cartoon characters like Tony the Tiger were erased from sugar cereal boxes, and a black stop sign was put on labels high in salt, sugar, fat or calories. Ads for junk food were banned from television advertising between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. As a result, Chilean children saw half as many ads for junk food and sugary drinks.

The food industry’s resistance to these measures has dwindled and many have begun reformulating their products, cutting salt and sugar to avoid the dreaded black stop sign on their label. It’s too soon to know how much of a dent this will put in the obesity rate, but the early results are encouraging lawmakers to consider other measures such as a processed food “mega tax” on frozen pizza, instant noodles and other fast food.

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