Effect of Macronutrient Composition on Appetite Hormone Responses in Adolescents with Obesity

Nutrients. 2019 Feb 5;11(2):340. doi: 10.3390/nu11020340.


Gut appetite hormone responses may be influenced by meal macronutrients and obesity. The primary aim of this study was to examine in adolescents with obesity and of healthy weight the effect of a high-protein and a high-carbohydrate meal on postprandial gut appetite hormones. A postprandial cross-over study with adolescents 11⁻19 years old was undertaken. Participants consumed, in random order, a high 79% carbohydrate (HCHO) and a high 55% protein (HP) meal. Ghrelin, glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), peptide YY (PYY), and self-reported appetite were assessed for four hours postprandial. Total energy intake from an ad libitum lunch and remaining 24 h was assessed. Eight adolescents with obesity (OB) and 12 with healthy weight (HW) participated. Compared with HW, OB adolescents displayed a smaller ghrelin iAUC (-25,896.5 ± 7943 pg/mL/4 h vs. -60,863.5 ± 13104 pg/mL/4 h) (p = 0.008) with no effect of meal (p > 0.05). The suppression of ghrelin relative to baseline was similar between OB and HW. Ghrelin suppression was greater following the HP vs. HCHO meal (effect of meal, p = 0.018). Glucose and insulin response were greater following HCHO vs. HP, with responses more marked in OB (time × weight × meal interaction, p = 0.003 and p = 0.018, respectively). There were no effects of weight or macronutrient on GLP-1 or PYY, appetite or subsequent energy intake. The present study demonstrates that dietary protein can modulate postprandial ghrelin responses; however, this did not translate to subsequent changes in subjective appetite or energy intake.

Keywords: GLP-1; adolescent; appetite; ghrelin; obesity.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Appetite / drug effects*
  • Appetite / physiology
  • Child
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / pharmacology*
  • Dietary Proteins / pharmacology*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Ghrelin / genetics
  • Ghrelin / metabolism
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 / genetics
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nutrients / pharmacology*
  • Pediatric Obesity / metabolism*
  • Peptide YY / genetics
  • Peptide YY / metabolism
  • Young Adult


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Ghrelin
  • Peptide YY
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1