Effects of exercise on gut peptides, energy intake and appetite

    1. M Denise Robertson
    1. School of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences, University of Surrey, Guildford GU2 7XH, UK
    2. 1Department of Metabolic Medicine, Hammersmith Hospital, Imperial College, London W12 ONN, UK
    1. (Requests for offprints should be addressed to M D Robertson; Email: m.robertson{at}surrey.ac.uk)


    This study investigated the acute effects of exercise on the postprandial levels of appetite-related hormones and metabolites, energy intake (EI) and subjective measures of appetite. Ghrelin, polypeptide YY (PYY), glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and pancreatic polypeptide (PP) were measured in the fasting state and postprandially in 12 healthy, normal-weight volunteers (six males and six females) using a randomised crossover design. One hour after a standardised breakfast, subjects either cycled for 60 min at 65% of their maximal heart rate or rested. Subjective appetite was assessed throughout the study using visual analogue scales and subsequent EI at a buffet meal was measured at the end (3-h post-breakfast and 1-h post-exercise). Exercise significantly increased mean PYY, GLP-1 and PP levels, and this effect was maintained during the post-exercise period for GLP-1 and PP. No significant effect of exercise was observed on postprandial levels of ghrelin. During the exercise period, hunger scores were significantly decreased; however, this effect disappeared in the post-exercise period. Exercise significantly increased subsequent absolute EI, but produced a significant decrease in relative EI after accounting for the energy expended during exercise. Hunger scores and PYY, GLP-1 and PP levels showed an inverse temporal pattern during the 1-h exercise/control intervention. In conclusion, acute exercise, of moderate intensity, temporarily decreased hunger sensations and was able to produce a short-term negative energy balance. This impact on appetite and subsequent energy homeostasis was not explained by changes in postprandial levels of ghrelin; however, ‘exercise-induced anorexia’ may potentially be linked to increased PYY, GLP-1 and PP levels.

    • Received in final form 20 February 2007
    • Accepted 23 February 2007
    • Made available online as an Accepted Preprint 23 February 2007
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