Sedentary Males Crave More Fat, Study Says

There could be some science behind your lazy-day potato chip cravings

The study was conducted on rats, but scientists believe the results may apply for humans.

Results from a study conducted at the University of Missouri-Columbia suggest that men who lead a sedentary lifestyle prefer a higher-fat diet than men who are active. This has heavy implications for the health outcomes of men without access to or willingness to take part in daily movement and exercise.

The study, conducted on rats, compared two groups of test subjects. The first had access to a running wheel, while the second did not. This forced one of the groups into a sedentary lifestyle. Both groups were fed the same food.

After a week of similar eating and differing activity levels, the rats were faced with a choice. They were offered three different types of food and allowed to decide which they preferred. One was a high-fat food, the rat equivalent of a tub of cookie dough. The other two were a food high in cornstarch and a food high in sugar. Needless to say, none of the three options were optimally healthy; the rats were forced to decide between sugar, refined carbohydrates, or fat.

Male rats who ran on the wheel consumed more of the options high in cornstarch and sugar, eating half as many fat-heavy meals as those who were sedentary. The females, however, did not exhibit a preferential difference; both groups of women preferred the high-fat food.

In both groups, the runners consumed more calories than the sedentary rats — which makes sense, considering the energy expended on that tiny running wheel. However, the results also seem to suggest that for men, remaining sedentary encourages fat cravings that are otherwise absent. Or, conversely, that higher activity levels induce more cravings for carbs.

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