Is your appetite overreacting to your running training? Don’t let your appetite boss you around. Fedhealth Dream Chasers dietician Andrea du Plessis shares smart tips to keep your appetite in check.


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 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.


500kJ smart snacks to tame your appetite:

  • 1 boiled egg + ¼ crushed avo (salt and freshly ground pepper to taste)
  • ½ diced apple with 100ml Greek yoghurt (with cinnamon & seed sprinkle)
  • 175ml 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 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: cinnamon, cocoa powder, chilli, ginger, cumin, cayenne pepper, black pepper, pesto, soy sauce and wasabi.



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 one 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 requires planning. Remember, failing to plan is planning to fail!


For more information, visit or for any nutrition related questions, contact Andrea du Plessis on 084 403 6018, email or go to


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.