Changes in daily leptin, ghrelin and adiponectin profiles following a diet with carbohydrates eaten at dinner in obese subjects

Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2013 Aug;23(8):744-50. doi: 10.1016/j.numecd.2012.04.008. Epub 2012 Aug 14.


Background and aims: Our recently published randomised clinical trial evaluated the effect of a low-calorie diet with carbohydrates eaten at dinner. This dietary pattern led to lower hunger scores, and better anthropometric, biochemical and inflammatory outcomes compared to a standard low-calorie diet. In the same study, changes in diurnal secretion patterns of leptin, ghrelin and adiponectin were investigated.

Methods and results: Seventy-eight police officers (body mass index (BMI) > 30) were randomly allocated to experimental (carbohydrates at dinner) or control weight loss diets for 6 months. Sixty-three subjects finished the programme. On days 0, 7, 90 and 180 blood samples and hunger scores were collected every 4 h from 8:00 to 20:00. Hormonal profiles were available for 39. The dietary manipulation led to changes in daylight hormonal profiles in the experimental group. Leptin's secretion curve became convex, with a nadir later in the day (significant difference compared to baseline at morning and evening, p = 0.023, p = 0.021, respectively). Ghrelin's secretion curve became concave, peaking only in the evening hours. Adiponectin's curve was elevated only after the experimental diet (significant difference compared to baseline at afternoon, p = 0.044).

Conclusions: We propose that a low-calorie diet with carbohydrates eaten at dinner can modulate daytime hormonal profiles. Taken together with our earlier results, we believe this diet regime may prevent mid-day hunger, better support weight loss and improve metabolic outcomes compared to conventional weight loss diets. The trial is registered at, ISRCTN37829376, December 2009.

Keywords: Adiponectin; Carbohydrates; Ghrelin; Hunger; Leptin; Metabolic syndrome; Satiety.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adiponectin / blood*
  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Caloric Restriction*
  • Diet, Reducing
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Ghrelin / blood*
  • Humans
  • Leptin / blood*
  • Male
  • Meals
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / blood*
  • Obesity / diet therapy
  • Weight Loss


  • Adiponectin
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Ghrelin
  • Leptin

Associated data

  • ISRCTN/ISRCTN37829376