Why do you lack appetite after exercise? Scientists find a clue

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The relationship between physical activity, energy balance, food intake, and energy expenditure is intricate and poses substantial challenges to understanding the global epidemic of obesity.

Research efforts have been focusing on understanding how hormones related to appetite control and the processes involving metabolites, the products of cell metabolism, impact hunger and satiety.

Researchers are seeking to understand the synergies between hormonal functions and metabolites in controlling appetite, potentially offering advanced treatments for obesity.

Interaction between Exercise and Appetite

Researchers, Henver Simionato Brunetta of UNICAMP, Brazil, and Jens Lund of the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, are exploring the intricate interactions between carbohydrates, exercise, and metabolic factors in regulating appetite.

A study led by James Frampton at Imperial College London investigated the role of metabolites acetate and succinate as potential mediators of exercise-induced appetite and energy intake responses, unveiling their significant contribution to the regulation of satiety and hunger after acute exercise.

Study Insights

The study included 12 healthy men, exercising under fasting conditions or after ingesting carbohydrates, followed by a meal where the calorie intake, subjective feelings of appetite, bloodborne metabolites, and hormones were assessed.

The study revealed that both carbohydrate ingestion and exercise impacted levels of hunger-regulating hormones GLP-1 and ghrelin, but metabolites showed more responsiveness to exercise, influencing appetite despite the increase in energy expenditure induced by exercise.

The Role of Adipose Tissue

The current understanding of adipose tissue has evolved; it’s no longer viewed as just an energy reserve but is recognized as a crucial endocrine organ.

This tissue interacts with other organs by releasing microRNAs and cell-signaling proteins, known as adipokines, playing a pivotal role in metabolism and energy balance.

Brunetta’s research, aligning with Frampton’s study, aims to delve deeper into how secreted substances control metabolism and explore the bioenergetic adaptation of brown adipose tissue.

The Impact on Obesity

With obesity set to affect 1 billion people worldwide by 2030, understanding the role of metabolites and hormones in appetite regulation is crucial.

Brazil’s adult population living with obesity is expected to reach 30% by 2030. The insights from these studies are vital in developing advanced, nuanced treatments for obesity, addressing the metabolic, hormonal, and dietary components of energy balance and appetite control.

Future Directions

The findings of these studies offer promising avenues for advancements in obesity treatment, exploring the synergistic roles of hormones and metabolites in appetite control.

The next step is to unravel the detailed mechanisms through which exercise and dietary conditions alter metabolites and to understand how these alterations can be leveraged to combat obesity effectively, developing comprehensive, multi-faceted treatment approaches.


Understanding the intricate relationships between physical activity, energy balance, food intake, and energy expenditure is paramount in addressing the global obesity epidemic.

The synergistic interactions between hormones, metabolites, and exercise offer promising insights into developing innovative treatments for obesity.

By unraveling the underlying mechanisms and exploring the role of adipose tissue as an endocrine organ, researchers are paving the way for more effective, holistic approaches to obesity treatment, contributing to global health improvement efforts.

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The research findings can be found in The Journal of Physiology.