We know exercise is key to prevent packing on the pounds after indulging in too many sweets. But researchers now say a little movement may help prevent the cravings in the first place.
According to a press release, researchers at the University of Exeter have found that a walk of just 15 minutes can reduce chocolate cravings.
Exercise has been shown to help people manage dependencies on nicotine and other drugs, according to the article, but this is the first to show that the same could be true for food cravings.
In the study, 25 regular chocolate eaters went three days chocolate-free. They were then asked to either complete a 15-minute brisk walk or rest. They then took part in activities, such as opening a chocolate bar, that would normally induce chocolate cravings.
Those who engaged in exercise reported lower cravings than those who rested. Cravings were reduced during the walk and for at least ten minutes afterward.
Professor Adrian Taylor says in the release that there could be common processes in the reward centers of the brain between drug and food addictions, and exercise could have an effect on the brain chemicals that regulate mood and cravings.
Taylor concludes in the article: "Short bouts of physical activity can help to regulate how energised and pleasant we feel, and with a sedentary lifestyle we may naturally turn to mood regulating behaviours such as eating chocolate. Accumulating 30 minutes of daily physical activity, with two 15 minute brisk walks, for example, not only provides general physical and mental health benefits but also may help to regulate our energy intake."
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