Appetite after weight loss by energy restriction and a low-fat diet-exercise follow-up

Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2000 Jul;24(7):906-14. doi: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0801251.


Objective: The aim of the present study was to determine the impact of weight loss on appetite as measured by visual analog scale (VAS).

Methods: Seventeen subjects (10 men and seven women) took part in a 15 week weight loss program which consisted of drug therapy (fenfluramine 60 mg/day) or placebo coupled to an energy restriction (-2930 kJ/day; phase 1) followed by an 18 week low-fat diet-exercise follow-up (phase 2). Subjects were given a standardized breakfast before and after phase 1 as well as after phase 2. Individuals were asked to fill out VAS before and at 0, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 and 60 min after this test meal. Blood samples were drawn before the meal and at 0, 30 and 60 min postprandially and analyzed for glucose and insulin. Fasting plasma cortisol and leptin were also determined.

Results: An increase in the fasting desire to eat, hunger and prospective food consumption (PFC) was observed after phase 1 and to an even greater extent after phase 2 in both men and women. In the fasting state, positive correlations were observed between changes in the desire to eat (r=0.76; P<0.05) as well as changes of PFC (r=0. 82; P<0.05) and changes in cortisol at the end of phase 1 for women. In response to phase 1, statistically significant correlations were found between changes of hunger (r=0.64; P<0.05) and desire to eat (r=0.67; P<0.05) as measured by AUC in response to the meal and changes of fasting plasma cortisol in men. The most consistent predictor of changes of baseline desire to eat (r=0.68 P<0.05), fullness (r=-0.78, P<0.05) and PFC (r=0.91, P<0.01) during phase 2 was the change in fasting cortisol in men. Changes of fullness were also associated with changes of fasting leptin in men (r=0.68; P<0. 05) during phase 2.

Conclusion: These results suggest that weight loss is accompanied by an increase of baseline appetite in both men and women and that the most consistent predictor of these changes in appetite seems to be changes in fasting plasma cortisol.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Appetite / physiology*
  • Area Under Curve
  • Diet, Fat-Restricted*
  • Energy Intake*
  • Exercise*
  • Fasting / physiology
  • Female
  • Fenfluramine / therapeutic use
  • Glucose / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood
  • Hydrocortisone / chemistry
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin / chemistry
  • Leptin / blood
  • Leptin / chemistry
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / diet therapy
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Postprandial Period / physiology
  • Weight Loss / physiology*


  • Insulin
  • Leptin
  • Fenfluramine
  • Glucose
  • Hydrocortisone