Effect of Short-term Exercise on Appetite, Energy Intake and Energy-regulating Hormones

Document Type: Original Article


1 Department of Physical Education & Sport Science, University of Semnan, Semnan, Iran

2 Department of Sport Science, University of Guilan, Rasht, Iran



The purpose of this study was to investigate effects of short-term aerobic exercise on energy intake, appetite and energy-regulating hormones in free-living men and women.
Materials and Methods:
Sixteen (eight men, eight women) sedentary young normal weight subjects participated in two experimental conditions with two days apart: five days control with no exercise, and five days exercise (55% MHRR for 45 min/day). Subjects recorded dietary intake using a food diary and self-weighed intake during each five days. Appetite questionnaire (visual analogue scale) was completed each morning in the fasted state. Blood samples were taken in the morning on the 6th day in fasting status after control and exercise conditions.
No significant changes were found in absolute energy intake, appetite rate and level of acylated ghrelin and leptin between conditions in both sexes. In women, insulin concentration decreased significantly after exercise. Relative energy intake was significantly lower after exercise in men. On average, women compensated for about 23% of the exercise-induced energy deficit but men did not (-10%).
Our findings show that low-intensity exercise for five consecutive days cannot create a negative energy balance in women. It seems that women are more resistant to exercise-induced energy deficit.



1. Hagobian TA, Braun B. Physical Activity and hormonal regulation of appetite: sex differences and weight control. Exerc Sport Sci Rev 2010; 38:25-30.

2. Donnelly JE, Hill JO, Jacobsen DJ, Potteiger J, Sullivan DK, Johnson SL,

et al. Effects of a 16-month randomized controlled exercise trial on body weight and composition in young, overweight men and women: the midwest exercise trial. Arch Intern Med 2003; 163:1343-1350.

3. Potteiger JA, Jacobsen DJ, Donnelly JE, Hill JO. Glucose and insulin responses following 16 months of exercise training in overweight adults: the midwest exercise trial. Metab Clin Exp 2003; 52:1175-1181.

4. Stubbs RJ, Sepp A, Hughes DA, Johnstone AM, Horgan G, King N,

et al. The effect of graded levels of exercise on energy intake and balance in free-living men, consuming their normal diet. Eur J Clin Nutr 2002a; 56:129–140.

5. Stubbs RJ, Sepp A, Hughes DA, Johnstone AM, King N, Horgan G,

et al. The effect of graded levels of exercise on energy intake and balance in free-living women. Int J Obes 2002b; 26:866–869.

6. Pomerleau M, Imbeault P, Parker T, Doucet E. Effects of exercise intensity on food intake and appetite in Women. Am J Clin Nutr 2004; 80:1230–1236.

7. King NA, Lluch A, Stubbs RJ, Blundell JE. High dose exercise does not increase hunger or energy intake in free living males. Eur J Clin Nutr 1997; 51:478-483.

8. Vatansever-Ozen S, Tiryaki-Sonmez G, Bugdayci G, Ozen G. The effects of exercise on food intake and hunger: Relationship with acylated ghrelin and leptin. J Sports Sci Med 2011; 10:283-291.

9. Hickey MS, Houmard JA, Considine RV, Tyndall GL, Midgette JB, Gavigan KE

, et al. Gender-dependent effects of exercise training on serum leptin levels in humans. Am J Physiol 1997; 272:E562-566.

10. Hagobian TA, Sharoff CG, Stephens BR, Wade GN, Silva JE, Chipkin SR,

et al. Effects of exercise on energy-regulating hormones and appetite in men and women. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 2009; 296:R233-242.

11. Staten MA. The effect of exercise on food intake in men and women. Am J Clin Nutr 1991; 53:27-31.

12. Whybrow S, Hughes DA, Patrick R, Alexandra MJ, Graham WH, King N,

et al. The effect of an incremental increase in exercise on appetite, eating behavior and energy balance in lean men and women feeding ad libitum. Br J Nutr 2008; 100:1109–1115.

13. Mackelvie KJ, Meneilly GS, Elahi D, Wong ACK, Barr SI, Chanoine JP. Regulation of appetite in lean and obese adolescents after exercise: role of acylated and desacyl ghrelin. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2007; 92:648-654.

14. Glass S, Medicine ACoS, Dwyer GB. ASCM's Metabolic Calculations Handbook. Lippincott :Williams & Wilkins; 2006.

15. Bozinovski NC, Bellissimo N, Thomas SG, Pencharz PB, Goode RC, Anderson GH. The effect of duration of exercise at the ventilation threshold on subjective appetite and short-term food intake in 9 to 14 year old boys and girls. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 2009; 6:66.

16. Toshinai K, Kawagoe T, Shimbara T, Tobina T, Nishida Y, Mondal MS

, et al. Acute incremental exercise

Ebrahimi et al Sex Differences in Energy Balance

Iran J Basic Med Sci, Vol. 16, No. 7, Jul 2013




decreases plasma ghrelin level in healthy men. Horm Metab Res 2007; 39:849–851.

17. Ghanbari-Niaki A. Ghrelin and glucoregulatory hormone responses to a single circuit resistance exercise in male college students. Clin Biochem 2006; 39:966–970.

18. Kraemer RR, Durand RJ, Hollander DB, Tryniecki JL, Hebert EP, Castracane VD. Ghrelin and other glucoregulatory hormone responses to eccentric and concentric muscle contractions. Endocrine 2004; 24:93–98.

19. Vestergaard ET, Dall R, Lange KHW, Kjaer M, Christiansen JS, Jorgensen JOL. The ghrelin response to exercise before and after growth hormone administration. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2007; 92:297–303.

20. Burns SF, Broom DR, Miyashita M, Mundy C, Stensel DJ. A single session of treadmill running has no effect on plasma total ghrelin concentrations. J Sports Sci 2007; 25:635–642.

21. Dall R, Kanaley J, Hansen TK, Moller N, Christiansen JS, Hosoda H,

et al. Plasma ghrelin levels during exercise in healthy subjects and in growth hormone-deficient patients. Eur J Endocrinol 2002; 147:65–70.

22. Ju¨rima¨e J, Hofmann P, Ju¨rima¨e T, Palm R, Ma¨estu J, Purge P,

et al. Plasma ghrelin responses to acute sculling exercises in elite male rowers. Eur J Appl Physiol 2007; 99:467–474.

23. Kallio J, Pesonen U, Karvonen MK, Kojima M, Hosoda H, Kangawa K,

et al. Enhanced exercise-induced GH secretion in subjects with Pro7 substitution in the prepro-NPY. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2001; 86:5348– 5352.

24. Kraemer RR, Durand RJ, Acevedo EO, Johnson LG, Kraemer GR, Hebert EP,

et al. Rigorous running increases growth hormone and insulin like growth factor-I without altering ghrelin. Exp Biol Med 2004; 229:240–246.

25. Christ ER, Zehnder M, Boesch C, Trepp R, Mullis PE, Diem P,

et al. Decombaz J. The effect of increased lipid

intake on hormonal responses during aerobic exercise in endurance-trained men. Eur J Endocrinol 2006; 154:397–403.

26. Ju¨rima¨e J, Ju¨rima¨e T, Purge P. Plasma ghrelin is altered after maximal exercise in elite male rowers. Exp Biol Med 2007; 232:904–909.

27. Sartorio A, Morpurgo P, Cappiello V, Agosti F, Marazzi N, Giordani C,

et al. Exercise-induced effects on growth hormone levels are associated with ghrelin changes only in presence of prolonged exercise bouts in male athletes. J Sports Med Phys Fitness 2008; 48: 97–101.

28. Erdmann J, Tahbaz R, Lippl F, Wagenpfeil S, Schusdziarra V. Plasma ghrelin levels during exercise. Effects of intensity and duration. Regul Pept 2007; 143:127–135.

29. Weltman A, Pritzlaff CJ, Wideman L, Considine RV, Fryburg DA, Gutgesell,

et al. Intensity of acute exercise does not affect serum leptin concentrations in young men. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2000; 32:1556–1561.

30. Essig DA, Alderson NL, Ferguson MA, Bartoli WP, Durstine JL. Delayed effects of exercise on the plasma leptin concentration. Metabolism 2000; 49:395–399.

31. Ramezankhany A, Nazar Ali P, Hedayati M. Comparing effects of aerobics, pilates exercises and low calorie diet on leptin levels and lipid profiles in sedentary women. Iran J Basic Med Sci 2011; 14:256-263.

32. Kraemer RR, Chu H, Castracane VD. Leptin and exercise. Exp Biol Med 2002; 227:701–708.

33. Olive JL, Miller GD. Differential effects of maximal- and moderate-intensity runs on plasma leptin in healthy trained subjects. Nutrition 2001; 1:365-369.

34. Kraemer RR, Castracane VD. Exercise and humoral mediators of peripheral energy balance: ghrelin and adiponectin. Exp Biol Med 2007; 232:184–194.

35. Morton GJ, Schwartz MW. The NPY/AgRP neuron and energy homeostasis. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 2001; 5: S56–S62.