Short-term interval exercise suppresses acylated ghrelin and hunger during caloric restriction in women with obesity

Steven K. Malin, Emily M. Heiston, Nicole M. Gilbertson, Natalie Z.M. Eichner

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8 Scopus citations


Caloric restriction is suggested to increase hunger, in part, through complex interactions of hormones and behavior that contribute to challenges in long-term weight loss. Although intense exercise may attenuate appetite, no data exist testing the effects of interval exercise (INT) during a low-calorie diet (LCD) on appetite regulation. We hypothesized that LCD+INT would favorably influence satiety when compared with an energy-deficit matched LCD in women with obesity. Twenty-six women with obesity (47.3±2.4 yrs; 37.3 ± 1.2 kg/m2) were randomized to either LCD (n = 13; mixed meals of ~1200 kcal/d) or LCD+INT (n = 13; 60 min/d of supervised interval exercise at 90% HRpeak for 3 min and 50% HRpeak for 3 min) for 2 weeks. An additional 350kcal (shake) was provided to LCD+INT individuals post-exercise to equate energy availability between groups. Total PYY, acylated ghrelin and des-ghrelin were measured at 0, 30 and 60 min of a 75g OGTT before and after the intervention. Visual analog scales were also administered at 0 and 120 min of the OGTT to assess appetite perception. Food logs were recorded prior to and during the intervention to ensure caloric intake compliance. Compared with pre-intervention conditions, both interventions decreased food intake (P = 0.001) and body fat (P < 0.01). There was no effect on fasting PYY, but both LCD and LCD+INT increased post-prandial PYY iAUC (P < 0.001) relative to pre-intervention. LCD+INT maintained fasting acylated ghrelin (P = 0.06) and suppressed post-prandial acylated ghrelin iAUC (P = 0.04) compared to LCD. Neither intervention impacted circulating des- ghrelin before or following the OGTT. Interestingly, LCD+INT attenuated fasting hunger and maintained fullness compared with LCD (P = 0.05 and P = 0.06, respectively). Taken together, interval exercise favors acylated ghrelin suppression and perception of hunger during a LCD in women with obesity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number112978
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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