The Hunger Games

You thought this was going to be about Katniss didn’t you?

Well, you’ve been tricked again!

But this post is about running.
On our run over the weekend, my friend Liz and I started to discuss how we were ALWAYS hungrier on days off than on days when we had worked out. In my mind, that seemed counterintuitive-on the days I burn more calories, I would expect to be hungrier and vice versa.

Well, I did a little digging and found out that what’s happening to us isn’t abnormal- it’s actually normal.

According to a recent study from researchers at the University of Chile Clinical Hospital in Santiago found that exercise creates higher levels brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a blood protein that mainly serves  to promote the survival of nerve cells, but was also found to be linked to appetite suppression. Therefore, more exercise–>higher levels of BDNF–>appetite suppression.

Another study done by the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior examined the release of appetite suppressing gut hormones in exercise experienced rats and found that the animals who exercised more released more of the gut hormone that limits meal size and also helped the rats to lower their food intake.

And no worries if you’re hungry on those recovery days-here’s an entire page full of recipes and tips on recovery day snacking from Runner’s World.