Can't get enough of chocolates even while you're on a strict diet? Well, don't lose heart, for your weight loss plan can still be a success - all you need to do is fifteen minutes of brisk walking everyday to reduce the choco cravings.
That's what a new study by researchers at the University of Exeter has suggested.
While, it was earlier known that exercise has important benefits for people in managing dependencies on nicotine and other drugs.
This is the first study to show that the same may hold true for food cravings as well.
In the study, the researchers asked 25 regular chocolate eaters to either complete a 15-minute brisk walk or rest, in a random order after three days of abstinence.
Later, they were engaged in tasks that would normally induce chocolate cravings, including a mental challenge and opening a chocolate bar.
The researchers found that after exercise participants had 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.
"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," said Professor Adrian Taylor.
Earlier research revealed that 97 percent of women and 68 percent 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 the mood with and thus making people habitula, particularly when they are under stress and when it is readily available, and perhaps when they are sedentary.
Professor Taylor concluded: "While enjoying the occasional chocolate bar is fine, in time, regular eating may lead to stronger cravings during stress and when it is readily available. Recognising what causes us to eat high energy snacks, even if we have plans to not do so, can be helpful."
"Short bouts of physical activity can help to regulate how energised and pleasant we feel, and with a sedentary lifestyle we may naturally turn to mood regulating behaviours such as eating chocolate. Accumulating 30 minutes of daily physical activity, with two 15 minute brisk walks, for example, not only provides general physical and mental health benefits but also may help to regulate our energy intake. This research furthers our understanding of the complex physical, psychological and emotional relationship we have with food."
The study is published online in the journal Appetite.