Metabolism in women after weight loss varies from that of never overweight women

According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, women who reach a normal weight after previous obesity have different metabolic profiles than women who have never been overweight. This study by Raben et al. provides comparative information on metabolic reactions to either a high-fat, high-starch or high-sucrose diet.

The participants included 18 normal-weight women, of whom 8 were postobese (PO) and 10 were never-obese (NO). The PO women had previously been an average of 38% overweight and had been weight-stabilized for at least 2 months. In a crossover design, the PO and NO subjects consumed as much as they wished of either a high-fat diet, a high-starch diet, or a high-sucrose diet for 14-day periods. On day 1 and day 15 of each dietary period, weight, body composition and plasma levels of glucose, lactate, insulin, triacylglycerols and other metabolic markers were measured.

Body weight decreased during the high-starch diet by an average of 0.7 kg in all participants, but did not change significantly during the other two diets. Among both groups, a steeper rise in insulin, glucose and lactate was present after meals during the high-sucrose diet. The high-fat and high-sucrose diets increased triacylglycerol levels 1 hour after lunch and throughout the day, while less effect was seen with the high-starch diet. The authors conclude that sucrose substitution for other carbohydrates in the diet is inadvisable because it caused a greater rise in triacylglycerols.

The PO women consumed fewer calories while on the high-starch diet than did the NO group, but more calories on the high-fat (12%) and high-sucrose (19%) diets. PO women had a greater degree of insulin sensitivity, and changes in triacylglycerol were more muted among the PO women, indicating greater efficiency at storing triacylglycerols. Greater insulin sensitivity and more efficient triacylglycerol storage are both risk factors for weight gain and obe

Contact: Elizabeth Horowitz
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

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