Athletes competing in sports with weight classes may need to accept the post-dieting binge, but what about average Joes and Janes? Will a fasting day ruin the average dieters dieting efforts by making them eat more extra-calories on day 2 than they've economized the day before? A recent study from the US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, in which scientists have attempted to stimulate and simulate this insatiable hunger in a tightly controlled experimental environment, may hold the answer.
As Kristie L O'Connor et al. point out an altered secretion of appetite-mediating hormones is the #1 candidate to explain the common tendency for weight regain (Sumithran. 2013 | see Figure 1). This hypothesis is supported by several studies that have reported decreases in circulating leptin and insulin concentrations in response to weight loss that are disproportionately greater than contemporaneous reductions in fat mass (Mars. 2005; Blom. 2006; MacLean. 2006; Pasiakos. 2011; Sumithran. 2011). Other studies have documented blunted postprandial gastroenteropancreatic hormone responses after weight loss (Chan. 2004).
|Figure 1: Selected pathways involved in body weight regulation (left) and tabular overview of physiological changes after diet-induced weight loss and their effect on energy intake and storage (right | Sumithran. 2013).|
|Figure 2: Study design. EB, energy balance; ED, energy deprivation; EE, energy expenditure; EI, energy intake; RMR, resting metabolic rate; TDEE, total daily energy expenditure; VAS, visual analogue scale (O'Connor. 2016).|
Learn why that's the case.
|Figure 3: Overview of energy intake, deficits and macronutrient composition in the two study groups (O'Connor. 2016).|
In conjunction with the low-to-medium intensity exercise regimen (0–65% VO2peak for 187 6 +/- 21 min/d) that burned an extra 1683 +/- 329 kcal/d, the ED group did thus end up having a whopping -3696 +/- 742-kcal/d deficit on each of the two days (!).
It is thus no wonder that the scientists observed a whole host of significant differences in the hormonal response to the "diet" (diet vs. fasting). One difference you probably know much better however, is depicted in Figure 4, which shows that the subjects in the ED group consumed not simply the amount of energy they needed on the subsequent ad-libitum meal condition, but an extra 811 kcal - and they still felt a significantly greater desire to eat right after and 180 minutes after the meal.
- Blom, Wendy AM, et al. "Fasting Ghrelin Does Not Predict Food Intake after Short‐term Energy Restriction." Obesity 14.5 (2006): 838-846.
- Chan, Jean L., et al. "Ghrelin levels are not regulated by recombinant leptin administration and/or three days of fasting in healthy subjects." The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 89.1 (2004): 335-343.
- Egecioglu, Emil, et al. "PRECLINICAL STUDY: FULL ARTICLE: Ghrelin increases intake of rewarding food in rodents." Addiction biology 15.3 (2010): 304-311.
- MacLean, Paul S., et al. "Peripheral metabolic responses to prolonged weight reduction that promote rapid, efficient regain in obesity-prone rats." American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology 290.6 (2006): R1577-R1588.
- Mars, Monica, et al. "Decreases in fasting leptin and insulin concentrations after acute energy restriction and subsequent compensation in food intake." The American journal of clinical nutrition 81.3 (2005): 570-577.
- O'Connor, et al. "Altered Appetite-Mediating Hormone Concentrations Precede Compensatory Overeating After Severe, Short-Term Energy Deprivation in Healthy Adults." Nutrient Physiology, Metabolism, and Nutrient-Nutrient Interactions (2016).
- Pasiakos, Stefan M., et al. "Appetite and Endocrine Regulators of Energy Balance After 2 Days of Energy Restriction: Insulin, Leptin, Ghrelin, and DHEA‐S." Obesity 19.6 (2011): 1124-1130.
- Sumithran, Priya, et al. "Long-term persistence of hormonal adaptations to weight loss." New England Journal of Medicine 365.17 (2011): 1597-1604.
- Sumithran, Priya, and Joseph Proietto. "The defence of body weight: a physiological basis for weight regain after weight loss." Clinical Science 124.4 (2013): 231-241.