Weight Loss and Appetite Control in Women

Curr Obes Rep. 2017 Sep;6(3):334-351. doi: 10.1007/s13679-017-0273-8.


Purpose of review: The aim of this review is to describe and discuss weight loss-induced variations in appetite in women and factors responsible for these changes.

Recent findings: Studies have shown postweight loss increases in fasting and postprandial appetite in individuals engaged in weight loss trials, especially in women. Similarly, appetite-related peptides associated to the homeostatic control of feeding, such as leptin, ghrelin and peptide YY, were also found to be altered in way that promotes increased appetite after weight loss interventions. Sustained caloric deficits also drive increases in the frequency and strength of food cravings, food reward and seem to enhance oro-sensory sensations in women who lost weight. The menstrual cycle has also been to shown to influence caloric intake in women, more specifically food cravings. On the other hand, caloric restriction seems to increase cognitive restraint, decrease habitual disinhibition and susceptibility to hunger among women engaged in weight loss trials. Neural analysis corroborates these results, showing increased activation in brain areas involved in food reward and self-control processing. In conclusion, evidence supports that weight loss increases appetite sensations, and promotes changes in homeostatic and non-homeostatic control of feeding, which collectively seem to upregulate appetite in women.

Keywords: Appetite; Caloric restriction; Energy intake; Weight loss.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Appetite Regulation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Obesity / prevention & control*
  • Weight Loss*
  • Women's Health