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Brisk walk could help chocoholics stop snacking
Date:11/11/2008

Researchers at the University of Exeter have found that a walk of just fifteen minutes can reduce chocolate cravings. The benefits of exercise in helping people manage dependencies on nicotine and other drugs have previously been recognised. Now, for the first time, newly-published research shows that the same may be true for food cravings.

Following three days of abstinence, 25 regular chocolate eaters were asked to either complete a 15-minute brisk walk or rest, in a random order. They then engaged in tasks that would normally induce chocolate cravings, including a mental challenge and opening a chocolate bar.

After exercise participants reported lower cravings than after rest. Cravings were not only reduced during the walk, but for at least ten minutes afterwards. The exercise also limited increases in cravings in response to the two tasks.

Professor Adrian Taylor comments: "Our ongoing work consistently shows that brief bouts of physical activity reduce cigarette cravings, but this is the first study to link exercise to reduced chocolate cravings. Neuroscientists have suggested common processes in the reward centres of the brain between drug and food addictions, and it may be that exercise effects brain chemicals that help to regulate mood and cravings. This could be good news for people who struggle to manage their cravings for sugary snacks and want to lose weight."

Previous research has suggested that 97% of women and 68% of men experience food cravings. Craved foods tend to be calorie-dense, fatty or sugary foods, with chocolate being the most commonly reported. Chocolate has a number of biologically active constituents that temporarily enhance our mood with a result that eating it can become a habit, particularly when we are under stress and when it is readily available, and perhaps when we are least active.

Professor Taylor concludes: "While enjoying the occasional chocolate bar is fine, in time, regula
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Contact: Sarah Hoyle
s.hoyle@exeter.ac.uk
01-392-262-062
University of Exeter
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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