Specific insulin sensitivity and leptin responses to a nutritional treatment of obesity via a combination of energy restriction and fatty fish intake

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Nutritional strategies to treat obesity often influence neuroendocrine factors related to body weight control. The present study aimed to investigate whether the inclusion of three fatty fish servings per week within a hypocaloric diet may have specific healthy effects on insulin and leptin functions.


Thirty-two subjects (body mass index = 31.6 ± 3.5 kg m−2) aged 36 ± 7 years, were assigned to a control or fish-based energy-restricted diet over an 8-week period. Anthropometry, body composition, lipid profile, leptin and insulin values were measured at the start and at the end of the dietary intervention.


Both experimental diets resulted in a similar mean weight loss (control = 5.3 ± 2.6% versus fish-based = 5.5 ± 2.5%; P= 0.783). A significant reduction in insulin resistance, as determined by the homeostatic model assessment index (HOMA-IR = insulin × glucose/22.5), was observed after the fish-based intervention. The change in circulating leptin was higher in the fish-based diet compared to the control group. Sixteen percent of the variability in the change of adjusted-leptin could be explained (P= 0.034) by the HOMA index change and the type of diet.


Three servings a week of fatty fish included in an energy-restricted diet appears to be a valid strategy for specifically improving insulin sensitivity and leptin levels in obese subjects, which could involve a better body weight regulation after a nutritional intervention period.

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