Effects of exercise on gut peptides, energy intake and appetite

J Endocrinol. 2007 May;193(2):251-8. doi: 10.1677/JOE-06-0030.


This study investigated the acute effects of exercise on the postprandial levels of appetite-related hormones and metabolites, energy intake (EI) and subjective measures of appetite. Ghrelin, polypeptide YY (PYY), glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and pancreatic polypeptide (PP) were measured in the fasting state and postprandially in 12 healthy, normal-weight volunteers (six males and six females) using a randomised crossover design. One hour after a standardised breakfast, subjects either cycled for 60 min at 65% of their maximal heart rate or rested. Subjective appetite was assessed throughout the study using visual analogue scales and subsequent EI at a buffet meal was measured at the end (3-h post-breakfast and 1-h post-exercise). Exercise significantly increased mean PYY, GLP-1 and PP levels, and this effect was maintained during the post-exercise period for GLP-1 and PP. No significant effect of exercise was observed on postprandial levels of ghrelin. During the exercise period, hunger scores were significantly decreased; however, this effect disappeared in the post-exercise period. Exercise significantly increased subsequent absolute EI, but produced a significant decrease in relative EI after accounting for the energy expended during exercise. Hunger scores and PYY, GLP-1 and PP levels showed an inverse temporal pattern during the 1-h exercise/control intervention. In conclusion, acute exercise, of moderate intensity, temporarily decreased hunger sensations and was able to produce a short-term negative energy balance. This impact on appetite and subsequent energy homeostasis was not explained by changes in postprandial levels of ghrelin; however, 'exercise-induced anorexia' may potentially be linked to increased PYY, GLP-1 and PP levels.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Appetite / physiology*
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Energy Intake / physiology*
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Fasting
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / blood
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Hormones / blood*
  • Ghrelin
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 / blood
  • Humans
  • Hunger / physiology
  • Male
  • Pancreatic Polypeptide / blood
  • Peptide Hormones / blood
  • Peptide YY / blood
  • Postprandial Period
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Blood Glucose
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Gastrointestinal Hormones
  • Ghrelin
  • Peptide Hormones
  • Triglycerides
  • Peptide YY
  • Pancreatic Polypeptide
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1