Acute effects of exercise intensity on appetite in young men

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1988 Jun;20(3):222-7. doi: 10.1249/00005768-198806000-00002.


This study investigated the acute effects of two exercise intensities on three measures of appetite. Fifteen, 12-h-fasted, college-age males completed three experimental sessions in counterbalanced orders: no-exercise control; cycle exercise performed at 35% VO2max; and cycle exercise performed at 68% VO2max. Both exercise conditions involved a total energy expenditure of 4.1 body weight. Dependent measures were intermittent hunger and sucrose palatability ratings, and food intake at a test meal given approximately 1 h post-exercise. Hunger was briefly suppressed in the high-intensity exercise condition compared to low-intensity exercise and control, while intake of liquid-source kilocalories and carbohydrates was higher after the exercise sessions. Total caloric intake remained stable. Sucrose palatability did not vary across sessions. Intensity is inferred to be an important variable mediating exercise effects on appetite. Relations between appetite measures are discussed, and validity of sucrose palatability ratings and common methods of measuring food intake questioned. Exercise, while not decreasing food intake, does not appear to increase it, and the benefits of exercise for body fat reduction are not immediately offset by compensatory caloric intake.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Appetite / physiology*
  • Eating
  • Energy Intake
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physical Exertion*
  • Sucrose / physiology


  • Sucrose