Healthcare News & Insights

Obesity study weighs willpower against hormones

Hormonal fluctuations may mean more than just will power or discipline when it comes to successfully losing weight. That’s the takeaway from a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

In the study, 50 overweight volunteers were put on an extreme diet — just 550 calories per day for 10 weeks.

Most stuck with it, and they lost weight — an average of 30 pounds each. And a year later, they were still lighter, but they had put back on about half of what they had previously lost.

The researchers found that the volunteers’ hormone levels — particularly leptin, an appetite suppressant and gherlin, an appetite stimulator — were essentially encouraging them to eat more. A lot more.The volunteers’ metabolic rates also stayed low a year after the study, meaning that any additional calories they took in were that much harder to burn off.

Their bodies were behaving as if they were living in a near-starvation environment.

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