Eating a balanced diet simply means maintaining the balance between proteins, carbohydrates and lipids. And the secret to adopting a balanced, healthy and varied diet would lie in sport, according to a study.
Doing regular physical activity keeps you healthy, both mentally and physically. According to a study published last November in the medical journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise , playing sports would be another asset. Although it is obvious, the study shows that incorporating exercise into your daily life would affect our food choices and allow us to eat a balanced diet .
Decreased food cravings
This study, carried out by researchers at the University of Leeds in England, examined changes in food reward and eating behavior traits related to susceptibility to overeating after engaging in sport . To carry out the study, the scientists conducted it on 61 volunteers, most of them middle-aged and inactive, all overweight or obese .
The participants all responded to a detailed questionnaire on their eating preferences and behaviors, particularly on binge eating ( an eating disorder ) and the difficulty of not overeating. The participants were then divided into two groups: the members of the first group were “witnesses” and pursued a normal life while the others exercised.
Volunteers in the second group underwent training for 12 weeks, while eating as they pleased. Once the experiment was over, the researchers found that food cravings only decreased in people in the group who participated in regular physical activity . Scientists have observed the same drop for binge eating. In addition, the volunteers who played sports lost a few pounds compared to the “control” group.
Playing sports would alter the functioning of certain parts of the brain
While the reactions of the “control” group to food have not changed, those of the volunteers, who have exercised, have clearly changed. Faced with photos and questions about fatty and high-calorie foods , they confessed that they no longer find them so irresistible. This study shows that doing sports for 12 weeks has reduced the food cravings experienced by people who are overweight or obese compared to those who have not done any sport.
It should be noted that the researchers did not control the diet of the volunteers. Participants could eat whatever they wanted. In view of the results, scientists have hypothesized. They suspect that participants’ food preferences have changed due to physical activity , which has altered the functioning of certain parts of the brain that regulate eating behavior.