A new study suggests that a brisk morning workout may reduce your appetite throughout the day.

Morning workouts may curb appetite
A brisk morning workout may diminish your appetite throughout the day

Announced Wednesday, researchers from Brigham Young University (BYU) in the US used electrodes to measure the neural activity of 35 women while they looked at pictures of food on two different days. One day the women exercised for 45 minutes in the morning, while the second day they didn’t exercise.

On the exercise day, researchers found that the subjects’ attentional response to the food images diminished. Plus, throughout the rest of the day, women who had worked out also showed an increase in total physical activity, regardless of body mass index. (Half of the participants were obese.)

Women did not eat more food on the exercise day to “make up” for calories burned in the workout, the researchers said. Rather, the participants consumed about the same amount of food as on the non-exercise day.

“There is no established recommendation for the time of day a person should exercise,” says study author James LeCheminant, “but I think it’s worth a person trying, if they’re struggling with how much they eat, perhaps to exercise beforehand and see if their individual response would be a diminished desire to eat.”

The study will appear in the October print issue of the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

Prior research from 2008 has found that vigorous aerobic activity may be better than weight training at suppressing appetite in that it releases two key appetite hormones, ghrelin and peptide YY, while weight lifting releases only ghrelin. Research from earlier this year, however, finds that exercise may change your desire to eat by altering how certain parts of your brain respond to the sight of food.