Ghrelin response to carbohydrate-enriched breakfast is related to insulin

Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Feb;81(2):367-75. doi: 10.1093/ajcn.81.2.367.


Background: Ghrelin plays an important role in the regulation of food intake. Little is known about how ghrelin concentrations are modified by dietary factors.

Objective: We examined the effects of both amount and type of carbohydrate on ghrelin concentrations and all correlations among the variables ghrelin, glucose, insulin, leptin, and all 4 subjective measures of appetite.

Design: Twenty healthy nonobese men were studied in a double-blind, randomized, crossover design. Subjective measures of appetite and concentrations of ghrelin, glucose, insulin, and leptin were frequently assessed for 4 h after liquid breakfast meals differing in energy content and carbohydrate structure-ie, water, low-calorie (LC) meal, high-calorie simple carbohydrate (HC-SC) meal, and high-calorie complex carbohydrate (HC-CC) meal.

Results: Ghrelin concentrations decreased after the HC-SC breakfast by 41%, after the HC-CC breakfast by 33%, and after the LC breakfast by 24%. No significant differences in ghrelin concentration among the 3 breakfasts were observed until 120 min. Ghrelin concentrations were correlated with subjective measures of hunger (r=0.51) and fullness (r=-0.44). The percentage decrease in ghrelin between 0 and 30 min was inversely correlated with the percentage increases in insulin (r=-0.76) and glucose (r=-0.79) but not with changes in leptin (r=0.10). The percentage changes in ghrelin concentrations between 30 and 180 min were correlated with the percentage changes in insulin (r=-0.53) and leptin (r=-0.47) but not with changes in glucose (r=0.22).

Conclusion: The results support the hypothesis that ghrelin requires postgastric feedback, which may be regulated through insulin.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Appetite / drug effects
  • Appetite / physiology*
  • Area Under Curve
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Carbohydrates / chemistry
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / metabolism
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / pharmacokinetics
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Fats / pharmacology
  • Dietary Fiber / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Fiber / metabolism
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Ghrelin
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood*
  • Leptin / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Peptide Hormones / blood*
  • Postprandial Period


  • Blood Glucose
  • Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Ghrelin
  • Insulin
  • Leptin
  • Peptide Hormones