Very Low Volume Sprint Interval Exercise Suppresses Subjective Appetite, Lowers Acylated Ghrelin, and Elevates GLP-1 in Overweight Individuals: A Pilot Study

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  • University of Birmingham


High-intensity exercise has been shown to elicit a transient suppression of appetite and create a more anorexigenic profile of appetite-associated hormones. It is yet to be fully elucidated whether such a response is observed following very low-volume, intermittent exercise at supramaximal intensity in those who are overweight. Eight overweight individuals (BMI 27.7 ± 1.7 kg·m²) completed resting (REST) and exercise (EX) trials in a counterbalanced order. EX consisted of 4 × 30 s "flat-out" cycling on an ergometer (adapted Wingate test). Two hours post-exercise (or REST), participants were presented with an ad libitum meal. Subjective appetite measures and blood samples were obtained throughout. Subjective appetite, measured using VAS, was significantly lower immediately after exercise compared with REST (38.0 ± 28.5 mm vs. 75.1 ± 26.2 mm, p = 0.018, d = 1.09). This difference remained significant 30 min post-exercise. Acylated ghrelin concentration was suppressed in EX compared with REST immediately post-exercise (113.4 ± 43.0 pg·mL(-1) vs. 189.2 ± 91.8 pg·mL(-1), p = 0.03, d = 1.07) and remained lower until the ad libitum test-meal. Area-under-the-curve for GLP-1 concentration was significantly greater for EX, versus REST. There was no difference in absolute adlibitum intake or relative energy intake. As little as 4 × 30 s of "flat-out" cycling was sufficient to elicit a transient suppression of appetite and an enduring suppression of plasma acylated ghrelin. Nonetheless, food intake 2-h post-exercise was unaffected.


Original languageEnglish
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 5 Apr 2017


  • Journal Article, : high-intensity intermittent exercise , food intake , satiety , hunger , appetite hormones