Macronutrient composition and increased physical activity modulate plasma adipokines and appetite hormones during a weight loss intervention

J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2010 Jan;19(1):139-45. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2009.1472.


Background: We have shown previously that in overweight premenopausal women, changes in macronutrient composition and increasing the number of steps walked per day favorably affect body composition and plasma lipid profiles. As a follow-up, we evaluated the effect of moderate carbohydrate intake and increased physical activity on inflammation and regulation of appetite.

Methods: Seventy premenopausal women with a body mass index (BMI) between 25 and 37 kg/m(2) participated in a 10-week weight loss intervention program consisting of the following macronutrient energy distribution: 40% carbohydrate, 30% fat, and 30% protein, in addition to a progressive increase in the number of steps taken per day. Plasma adiponectin, intracellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1), leptin, and ghrelin levels were assessed at baseline and after 10 weeks.

Results: Subjects reduced body weight by 4.5%, waist circumference (WC) by 6.4%, and trunk fat by 4.6%. Plasma insulin and insulin resistance assessed by homeostasis model assessment (HOMA) were reduced after 10 weeks (p < 0.01). Plasma adiponectin was increased by 11% (p < 0.05), and ICAM-1 levels were decreased (p < 0.05) after 10 weeks. A negative correlation was found between changes in insulin and changes in adiponectin between baseline and 10 weeks (r = -0.397, p < 0.01), indicating a role of adiponectin in increasing insulin sensitivity. In addition, plasma ghrelin levels were increased by 17% (p < 0.001), indicating a signal for increased appetite associated with weight loss.

Conclusions: These studies indicate that weight loss interventions involving moderate changes in dietary carbohydrate and increases in physical activity favorably affect insulin sensitivity and decrease inflammation.

MeSH terms

  • Adipokines / blood*
  • Adult
  • Appetite Regulation / physiology
  • Body Composition / physiology
  • Body Mass Index
  • Carnitine / administration & dosage
  • Carnitine / urine
  • Diet, Reducing*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Ghrelin / blood
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / prevention & control
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1 / blood
  • Leptin / blood
  • Middle Aged
  • Premenopause / blood
  • Premenopause / physiology*
  • Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 / blood
  • Weight Loss / physiology*


  • Adipokines
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Ghrelin
  • Leptin
  • Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1
  • Carnitine