Insulin May Play a Role in Lasting Weight Loss

Fat tissue genes also affect whether weight is regained

December 29, 2011 / Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

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(dailyRx News) New Year’s is fast approaching and your resolution to lose weight is just days away from beginning. Dropping pounds may be easy for some, but keeping it off is the bigger battle.

Now, a study may have found a way to tell if a person will maintain weight loss or gain it all back.

Researchers from the Diet, Obesity and Genes (DiOGenes) study, an ongoing European study on weight loss, found that insulin levels and genetics can predict whether you’ll be able to keep lost pounds off.

"Maintaining weight loss is difficult, a support group can help."

Previous studies on the topic show that the amount of fat tissue a person carries after dieting affects whether a person can maintain a weight loss. The doctors sought to further examine this in their latest study.

Scientists looked at 40 obese women from 8 European countries and fed them different types of diets over more than seven months. They were fed a low-calorie diet (800 calories a day) for the first six weeks of the study, then given a diet with varying amounts of protein and glycemic index scores. (The glycemic index is related to blood sugar levels. Foods high on the glycemic index lead to high blood sugar levels.)

The doctors then gave the women blood tests – looking closely at women who lost weight during the first part of the study and were able to maintain the weight loss, and women who regained weight during the second part of the study - and compared their test results.

The team found that women who kept the weight off had lower insulin levels after being given a glucose tolerance test, while the women who regained the weight did not have lower levels after the six-week, low-cal diet period.

Also, the doctors report that the two groups of women had different ways of regulating their fat tissue genes. These genes and how they’re regulated affect how a woman metabolizes fat and produces “ATP” - the process of oxygen combining with fat that generates energy for muscles.

Dr. Arne V. Astrup, head of the department of Human Nutrition at the University of Copenhagen, and his co-authors of the study said that the new findings may help dietitians and doctors predict who will be able to maintain weight loss and those that will need additional help keeping the weight off.

This observational study was published in the December issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and sponsored by the University of Copenhagen.

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Review Date: 
December 27, 2011
Last Updated:
December 29, 2011