Rewards motivate us to work harder and smarter. Mankind has always been interested in doing things that lead to beneficial outcomes and selfishness has been the triggering factor in most cases. Newton’s third law of motion that ‘Every action has an equal and opposite reaction’ has once again been proved to be right to the dot in terms of nutrition and fitness too!
Cause & Effect
Weight loss involves training vigorously, eating diet foods and leading an active lifestyle as its baseline. Every nutritionist and dietitian insist primarily on following portion control irrespective of the physical activity involved. Time and again various studies have proved that diet overpowers exercise in determining weight loss effects greatly. The common man reads about nutrition, health and fitness in newspapers and magazines every now and then but doesn’t take it to the mind strongly. Beyond the age-old concept of diet and exercise involved in assuring good health the latest study gives a new dimension to this. It shows how exercise affects diet preferences and alters a man’s food choices. More surprising is the fact that a woman’s diet preferences remain unaltered by exercise. There have been studies previously which have focused on how physical activity imposes the individual to make healthy diet choices but there have been none until now which focused on the gender-based differences in diet choices post-exercising.
Study on Rats
The study group involved both male and female rats which were divided into two mixed-sex groups where one group were given access to a running wheel (exercise group) and the other group were denied access (sedentary group) to the same. During the first week of study both groups received the same standard diet but during the second week it was replaced by three different diets (high-fat diet, high-sucrose diet and high-cornstarch diet) all of which contained the same amount of protein. This diet was accessible to the rats for a period of four weeks during which male and female sedentary rats chose to eat the high-fat diet compared to other diets.
In the exercise group the choice of the male rats was different after these rats performed physical activity, but the female rats showed no changes in diet choices. Exercising female rats continued to eat high-fat diets in fact tended to consume slightly more calories than sedentary rats but exercising male rats started choosing high-sucrose or high-cornstarch diet moving away from the high-fat diet. The gut microbiota too showed differences between male and female rats on analyzing fecal samples of the exercising group proving that the gut microbiota might hold an upper hand in contributing to the sex-dependent dietary choices to exercise. Analysis of the brains of these rats showed that male and female rats showed differences in reward-related mRNA expression. Females possess a higher capacity for reward. Hence, running might satisfy hunger in males but the same encourages females to opt for high-fat foods. While the study group expected to witness huge differences in dietary choices between sedentary and exercising rats it was the different choice of foods between the sexes that surprised them more.
Logically it is imperative to eat a healthy diet after exercising to double the goodness and reap beneficial results. A good dose of activity along with healthy food is a sure-shot way to weight loss. For a healthy diet plan suiting your requirements please get in touch with registered dietitian nutritionists at www.firsteatright.com. The main motive of exercising is to maintain good health. Healthy food choices supplement your ideas and even the mind prompts you to choose foods that are not high in fats or sugars as your motive gets disrupted otherwise. The choice of high-fat foods by female rats comes as an unusual twist to the tale suggesting researchers to look more closely into both men and women during studies instead of going by the usual practice of mostly choosing men for studies. The female’s higher capacity for reward too plays a primary role in modifying their choice of foods post-exercising.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.