Runners, Tame Your Appetite

Runners, Tame Your Appetite

15 May 2018

Did you know?

The post-exercise increase in appetite in women exceeds the increase in their energy expenditure, often resulting in overeating after training, or weight gain with the onset of a training programme.


Research shows us that smart snacking can help control your appetite. Smart snacks are higher in protein, fat or fibre. Protein is vital for runners for building muscle strength.

Instead of eating one or two large meals per day, break up your food intake into smaller, more frequent meals.

500 kJ Smart Snacks to tame your appetite:
1boiled egg + ¼ crushed avo (salt and freshly ground pepper to taste)
½ diced apple with 100 ml greek yoghurt (with cinnamon & seed sprinkle)
175 ml full cream yoghurt
10-12 almonds
2-3 dates
1 ripe banana (with cinnamon & lemon sprinkle)
45g lean biltong


Flavourful foods fill you up faster: Research shows us that we eat larger portions of bland foods and smaller portions of intensely flavoured and spicy foods.

Natural appetite suppressants: Many spices and intense flavour additions hold health benefits and may also actively suppress your appetite. Don’t be shy with these flavour additions to your diet:

Cocoa powder
Cayenne pepper
Black pepper
Soy sauce


Are you thirsty or hungry?! One of the first symptoms of dehydration is a sweet craving. With the fluid losses during running training, dehydration is a likely factor contributing to an overactive appetite. Drinking water regularly helps optimise your hydration status, which may help contain these unnecessary sweet cravings.

At mealtimes, we often eat more than what we intend to, or in terms of the nourishment we need. One of the reasons for this is that it takes over 20 minutes after you started eating for your brain to register the sensation of satiety.

To help reduce the risk of overeating drink 1 glass of water immediately before and another glass during your mealtime. This will fill you up quicker and will help you to feel satisfied sooner.


Even though moderate exercise can stimulate your appetite, high intensity training for 30 minutes (or longer) can suppress your appetite, not only during exercise but also for an extended period after. This is due to the effect of exercise on ghrelin, referred to as the “hunger hormone”, because it is a powerful appetite stimulant.  Not only does ghrelin increase appetite, it also increases cravings for energy dense foods such as high carbohydrate and high fat foods. Ghrelin also reduces fat oxidation, making it hard for the body to burn body fat reserves as energy.

A study showed how running at a high intensity significantly suppressed ghrelin levels, while running at a moderate intensity had no effect on ghrelin levels.

In summary, it may be simpler than you imagined, but following these tips require planning. Remember, failing to plan is planning to fail!

Work in a few high intensity running sessions of 30+ minutes into your weekly training programme

Keep the water bottle, smart snacks and flavourful foods handy after your regular training sessions

For any nutrition related questions, visit:

DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.

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