Investigating the effect of sex and ketosis on weight-loss-induced changes in appetite

Anna Lyngstad, Siren Nymo, Silvia R. Coutinho, Jens F. Rehfeld, Helen Truby, Bård Kulseng, Catia Martins

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Background: Diet-induced weight loss (WL) is usually accompanied by increased appetite, a response that seems to be absent when ketogenic diets are used. It remains unknown if sex modulates the appetite suppressant effect of ketosis. Objective: The aim of this study was to examine if sex modulates the impact of WL-induced changes in appetite and if ketosis alters these responses. Methods: Ninety-five individuals (55 females) with obesity (BMI [kg/m 2 ]: 37 ± 4) underwent 8 wk of a very-low-energy diet, followed by 4 wk of refeeding and weight stabilization. Body composition, plasma concentration of β-hydroxybutyrate (β-HB) and appetite-related hormones (active ghrelin, active glucagonlike peptide 1 [GLP-1], total peptide YY [PYY], cholecystokinin and insulin), and subjective feelings of appetite were measured at baseline, week 9 in ketosis, and week 13 out of ketosis. Results: The mean WL at week 9 was 17% for males and 15% for females, which was maintained at week 13. Weight, fat, and fat-free mass loss were greater in males (P< 0.001 for all) and the increase in β-HB at week 9 higher in females (1.174 ± 0.096 compared with 0.783 ± 0.112 mmol/L, P = 0.029). Basal and postprandial GLP-1 and postprandial PYY (all P< 0.05) were significantly different for males and females. There were no significant sex × time interactions for any other appetite-related hormones or subjective feelings of appetite. At week 9, basal GLP-1 was decreased only in males (P< 0.001), whereas postprandial GLP-1 was increased only in females (P< 0.001). No significant changes in postprandial PYY were observed over time for either sex. Conclusions: Ketosis appears to have a greater beneficial impact on GLP-1 in females. However, sex does not seem to modulate the changes in the secretion of other appetite-related hormones, or subjective feelings of appetite, seen with WL, regardless of the ketotic state. This trial was registered at as NCT01834859. Am J Clin Nutr 2019;109:1511-1518.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1511-1518
Number of pages8
JournalThe American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019


  • Cholecystokinin
  • Fullness
  • Ghrelin
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1
  • Hunger
  • Ketosis
  • Peptide YY
  • Prospective Food Consumption
  • Very-Low-Energy Diet
  • Weight Loss

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