Limiting the number of times one consumes food might increase the levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite, and increase your motivation to exercise, as per a new research study.
Normally, ghrelin levels go up dramatically before meals as it signals hunger. They then go down for about three hours after the meal.
Published in the Journal of Endocrinology, the study suggested that a surge in levels of the ‘hunger hormone’ after a period of fasting prompted mice to exercise voluntarily.
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These novel findings indicate that better diet control, for example limiting food intake to mealtimes or fasting intermittently, could help overweight people maintain a more effective exercise routine, lose weight and avoid debilitating complications such as diabetes and heart disease.
“Our findings suggest that hunger, which promotes ghrelin production, may also be involved in increasing motivation for voluntary exercise when feeding is limited,” said author Yuji Tajiri from the Kurume University in Japan.
Ghrelin mulates appetite through actions on the brain reward circuitry that increases motivation to eat. The body increases ghrelin if a person is eating less and decreases if they are overeating.
“Therefore, maintaining a healthy eating routine, with regular mealtimes or fasting, could also encourage motivation for exercise in overweight people,” Tajiri added.
It has also been reported to be essential for endurance exercise by increasing metabolism to meet the energy demands of prolonged exercise.
Although previous studies have suggested a relationship between ghrelin and exercise, it was not known whether the hormone levels have a direct effect on motivation to exercise.