Ratio of appetite-regulating hormones marker of successful dieters

June 25, 2012

A pre-diet measurement of two hormones related to weight regulation can help predict which dieters will be more likely to maintain their weight loss and who will not, according to a new study. The results will be presented Sunday at The Endocrine Society's 94th Annual Meeting in Houston.

With in many countries steadily climbing, more people are turning to diets to lose weight. But, for many people, maintaining the can be extremely difficult, leading to a frustrating cycle of weight loss and gain.

"The current study shows for the first time a clinically useful marker to identify, at an early time, patients who have difficulties in maintaining their body weight," said study author Ana B. Crujeiras , Ph.D., doctor at University Hospital of Santiago de Compostela (CHUS) and Biomedical Network Research Center in Physiopathology of obesity and Nutrition (CIBERobn) in Santiago de Compestela, Spain. "This difficulty is one of the most significant obstacles for obesity therapy, and currently there are no that effectively demonstrate clinical usefulness in predicting weight-loss regain."

To address this problem, investigators analyzed the role of two hormones related to appetite regulation. is made by the cells found in fat tissue, and is mainly manufactured by cells in the stomach. Previous research by Crujeiras and co-investigators showed that patients who later regained weight had higher leptin and lower ghrelin levels before starting a restricted-calorie diet.

In the current study, investigators found the pre-diet leptin/ghrelin ratio to be two times higher among study participants who later regained weight than among those who did not. Additionally, they identified cut-off points, which predicted more than 60 percent of patients who would later regain 10 percent or more of the weight they initially lost.

"Calculating the leptin/ghrelin ratio prior to the participation in a weight-reduction program might provide the opportunity to individualize weight-loss therapeutic programs according to patients' needs, counteracting the weight-regain rate, and, as a consequence, achieving successful management of obesity," Crujeiras said.

Among women, the leptin/ghrelin ratio identified 70 percent of participants who later regained weight. Among men, the rate was even higher at 95 percent. Women, however, were less likely than men to be incorrectly identified as future weight gainers.

Eighty-eight overweight or obese patients, with a body mass index greater than 25, enrolled in the eight-week study. They were 44 percent female, their average age was 35 years, and all were white.

After an initial fast, participants' blood levels of leptin and ghrelin were measured. They then followed a reduced calorie diet for eight weeks. At the six-month follow-up, 40 had regained the weight they had lost, while the remaining 48 had not.

Explore further: Voluntary exercise by animals prevents weight gain, despite high-fat diet

Related Stories

Not your fault! Hormones linked to weight regain

October 26, 2011

Any dieter knows that it's hard to keep off weight you've lost. Now a study finds that even a year after dieters shed a good chunk of weight quickly, their hormones were still insisting, "Eat! Eat! Eat!"

Recommended for you

Yo-yo dieting might cause extra weight gain

December 5, 2016

Repeated dieting may lead to weight gain because the brain interprets the diets as short famines and urges the person to store more fat for future shortages, new research by the universities of Exeter and Bristol suggests.

New target receptor discovered in the fight against obesity

November 25, 2016

The team of scientists from King's College London and Imperial College London tested a high-fat diet, containing a fermentable carbohydrate, and a control diet on mice and looked at the effect on food intake of those with ...

Does where you live affect what you weigh?

November 21, 2016

Adult obesity rates in the United States have reached epidemic proportions, with one in four people considered obese. Yet, obesity rates vary considerably across states and counties.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.