Exercise following Mental Work Prevented Overeating

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2016 Sep;48(9):1803-9. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000000961.

Abstract

Mental work may promote caloric intake, whereas exercise may offset positive energy balance by decreasing energy intake and increasing energy expenditure.

Purpose: This study aimed to replicate previous findings that mental work increases caloric intake compared with a rest condition and assess whether exercise after mental work can offset this effect.

Methods: Thirty-eight male and female university students were randomly assigned to mental work + rest (MW + R) or mental work + exercise (MW + E). Participants also completed a baseline rest (BR) visit consisting of no mental work or exercise. Visit order was counterbalanced. During the MW + R or MW + E visit, participants completed a 20-min mental task and either a 15-min rest (MW + R) or a 15-min interval exercise (MW + E). Each visit ended with an ad libitum pizza lunch. A two-way repeated-measures ANOVA was used to compare eating behavior between groups.

Results: Participants in the MW + R condition consumed an average of 100 more kilocalories compared with BR (633.3 ± 72.9 and 533.9 ± 67.7, respectively, P = 0.02), and participants in MW + E consumed an average of 25 kcal less compared with BR (432.3 ± 69.2 and 456.5 ± 64.2, respectively, P > 0.05). When including the estimated energy expenditure of exercise in the MW + E conditions, participants were in negative energy balance by an average of 98.5 ± 41.5 kcal, resulting in a significant difference in energy balance between the two groups (P = 0.001).

Conclusion: An acute bout of interval exercise after mental work resulted in significantly decreased food consumption compared with a nonexercise condition. These results suggest that an acute bout of exercise may be used to offset positive energy balance induced by mental tasks.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Energy Intake*
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Exercise*
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperphagia / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Mental Fatigue
  • Mental Processes / physiology*
  • Satiety Response
  • Young Adult