How Exercise May Affect Food Choices


Physical activity influences dietary preferences in males, but not in females – at least in rats, according to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Missouri. The goal of the research was to determine how environmental factors like exercise affect food choices.

For the study, researchers divided male and female rats into two groups – a sedentary group and a group that had access to a running wheel. Initially, both groups were given the same food, but after one week, researchers replaced the standard diet with three different options: a high-fat diet, a high-sugar diet, or a high-cornstarch diet. Each group was given continuous access to all three options for four weeks.

Results of the study showed sedentary male rats preferred the high-fat diet and active male rates ate about half as much of the high-fat food but increased their intake of the other two options. Surprisingly, while female sedentary rats also preferred the high-fat diet, so did the active females, which consumed more calories than the sedentary females.

Sourced from: University of Missouri