Acute and short-term effects of caloric restriction on metabolic profile and brain activation in obese, postmenopausal women

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Early anthropometric and metabolic changes during a caloric-restricted diet in obese postmenopausal women and correlations between these factors with activity in brain areas involved in processing of visual food related stimuli were investigated.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS:

An 8-week prospective intervention study of 18 healthy postmenopausal women, with a body mass index of 30–35 kg m-2. The first 2 weeks subjects were on an isocaloric diet and 4 weeks on a 1000 kcal restricted diet followed by 2 weeks on an isocaloric diet. Anthropometric and laboratory analyses were performed weekly during the isocaloric diet and three times a week during the caloric-restricted diet. Functional magnetic resonance imaging scans were obtained before and after the caloric restriction in four separate sessions (fasting or sated). Generalized Estimating Equations analysis was used for data analysis.

RESULTS:

A mean weight loss of 4.2 ± 0.5 kg (4.8%) and a 4.2 ± 0.4 cm decline in waist circumference were achieved. In the first week of caloric restriction, triglyceride, leptin, resistin and adiponectin levels as well as systolic blood pressure decreased and insulin-like growth factor-binding protein 1 levels increased. During and after weight loss, a significant increase in ghrelin levels was observed. Before weight loss, increased activation of the right amygdala was seen in response to food stimuli, and free fatty acids and glucose correlated with activity in various areas involved in food reward processing. After weight loss, fasting ghrelin and sated leptin levels correlated with activity in these areas.

CONCLUSIONS:

Already in the first week of caloric restriction in obese postmenopausal women, various favourable metabolic changes occur before clinically relevant weight loss is achieved. Activity in the amygdala region and correlations of metabolic factors with activity in brain areas involved in food reward processing differ substantially before and after weight loss.

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