There are few things in life more frustrating than watching the numbers on the scale rise when you’ve legit been making alllll the healthy choices.
But contrary to popular belief, minimising calorie intake and ramping up the workouts does not guarantee you a one-way ticket to shred city.
Unfair? Totally. But it does make sense. You see, the more energy we expend the more we want to eat.
Scientists Dr Gisela Helfer from the University of Bradford and Dr Rebecca Dumbbell from the MRC Hartwell Institute came to this conclusion after thoroughly analysing the habits of hamsters. Similarly to humans, the part of the brain that controls the animals’ appetite and body weight is called the hypothalamus. In their research, they found that the hormones that affect this area are actually triggered by growth signals – the very same that are increased when we exercise.
“If hamsters have access to a running wheel, they will exercise more than usual,” they explained in a piece for The Conversation. “When they are exercising on their wheel, they gain weight and eat more…”
Importantly, this extra body weight isn’t just made up of muscle, but extra fat. And the reason why is simple: our bodies are biologically programmed to prompt us to fill up on food the more we exercise (coz, fuel.)
“We now understand that the exercise-stimulated weight gain has to do with hormones that usually regulate growth, because when we block these hormones the weight gain can be reversed,” they continued.
But don’t go taking this as permission to cancel your gym membership, just yet. The study’s authors stress that these findings merely highlight which systems need to be looked at in greater detail in order to better understand how weight regulation works.
Bottom line? Exercise in moderation if you wanna feel the biggest benefits.