Panek-Scarborough, L., Temple, J., University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY

Figure 1: Mean + SEM change in laboratory energy consumed from pre to post exercise intervention from HED foods (top) and LED foods (bottom). The 5 day/week group consumed significantly more energy from LED food from pre- to post-exercise treatment (p = 0.002) compared to the other groups.

Background: There is evidence that exercise has an effect on the type and amount of food consumed. One factor that regulates eating is the reinforcing value of food. While previous studies have demonstrated interactions between exercise and eating, to date, no one has investigated the influence of exercise frequency on the reinforcing value of food. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that varying frequencies of a short-term exercise regimen alters the reinforcing value of low energy density (LED) and high energy density (HED) foods in sedentary male and female adults. In addition, we predicted that increased frequency of physical activity would be associated with greater intake of LED foods and reduced intake of HED foods. Methods: Eighteen to 50 year old sedentary adults were randomized to 0, 1, 3, or 5 days/week of exercise. We measured the reinforcing value and intake of LED and HED foods at baseline and again after two weeks of exercise. Results: We found no effect of exercise frequency on the reinforcing value of HED or LED food over time (all p > 0.05). However, exercise frequency effected the amount of energy consumed from LED food (p = 0.002) with the 5 days/week group consuming significantly more LED food after two weeks of exercise compared to the other groups. There was no significant effect of exercise frequency on energy intake from HED foods. Conclusion: This study suggests that increasing exercise frequency in sedentary adults may increase consumption of healthier food options, such as fruits and vegetables. Future studies will examine the impact of a longer exercise intervention and/or a higher intensity or interval type training on the reinforcing value of food and on LED and HED food intake.



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