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Randomized Controlled Trial
. 2016 Apr;103(4):1008-16.
doi: 10.3945/ajcn.115.115584. Epub 2016 Feb 17.

Energy Depletion by Diet or Aerobic Exercise Alone: Impact of Energy Deficit Modality on Appetite Parameters

Randomized Controlled Trial

Energy Depletion by Diet or Aerobic Exercise Alone: Impact of Energy Deficit Modality on Appetite Parameters

Jameason D Cameron et al. Am J Clin Nutr. .


Background: Millions of Americans attempt to lose weight each year, and it is unclear whether the modality of acute, tightly controlled energy depletions can differently affect appetite parameters and olfaction.

Objective: The objectives were to examine how the modality of an acute 3-d isocaloric 25% energy depletion by dieting alone or by aerobic exercise alone differently affects appetite and appetite-related hormones, ad libitum feeding, food reward (snack points), and olfaction.

Design: Ten male participants with a mean ± SD age of 23.7 ± 5.1 y and an initial mean ± SD body weight of 83.2 ± 11.5 kg participated in this randomized crossover design. Baseline measurement [day 1 of the control condition (CON1)] was performed and repeated 3 d later [day 4 of the control condition (CON4)], after which randomization was applied to the order of the 2 experimental conditions: 25% daily needs energy deficits induced by diet only (DIET) and by exercise only (EX) and tested before [day 1 of DIET (DIET1) and day 1 of EX (EX1)] and after 3 d [day 4 of DIET (DIET4) and day 4 of EX (EX4)] of the intervention. Body weight, leptin and ghrelin concentrations, relative-reinforcing value of food, and olfaction were measured at days 1 and 4. Body composition (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry), ad libitum energy intake (EI; buffet), and palatability (visual analog scale) were measured only at day 4.

Results: Relative to CON4, EI (P= 0.001), palatability (P= 0.01), and odor threshold (P= 0.05) were higher at DIET4; relative to CON4, palatability (P= 0.03) was higher at EX4. Compared with EX4, EI was higher for DIET4 (P= 0.006). Relative to CON4, snack points earned were higher at DIET4 (P= 0.03) and EX4 (P= 0.001); more snack points were earned at EX4 relative to DIET4 (P= 0.001).

Conclusions: Compared with the control condition, DIET represented a greater acute challenge to appetite regulation than EX, as demonstrated by greater appetite and ad libitum EI. This study confirms that compared with depletions by exercise alone, acute caloric restriction results in rapid changes in appetite that result in compensatory eating, which may initially dissuade potential success in weight-loss efforts. This trial was registered at as NCT02653378.

Keywords: Sniffin’ Sticks; diet; energy depletion; exercise; food hedonics; food reward; olfaction.

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