Weight regain after weight loss is common. In the Diogenes dietary intervention study, a high-protein and low-glycaemic index (GI) diet improved weight maintenance. The objective of the present study was to identify (1) blood profiles associated with continued weight loss and weight regain (2) blood biomarkers of dietary protein and GI levels during the weight-maintenance phase. Blood samples were collected at baseline, after 8 weeks of low-energy diet-induced weight loss and after a 6-month dietary intervention period from female continued weight losers (n 48) and weight regainers (n 48), evenly selected from four dietary groups that varied in protein and GI levels. The blood concentrations of twenty-nine proteins and three steroid hormones were measured. The changes in analytes during weight maintenance largely correlated negatively with the changes during weight loss, with some differences between continued weight losers and weight regainers. Increases in leptin (LEP) and C-reactive protein (CRP) were significantly associated with weight regain (P < 0·001 and P = 0·005, respectively), and these relationships were influenced by the diet. Consuming a high-protein and high-GI diet dissociated the positive relationship between the change in LEP concentration and weight regain. CRP increased during the weight-maintenance period only in weight regainers with a high-protein diet (P < 0·001). In addition, testosterone, luteinising hormone, angiotensinogen, plasminogen activator inhibitor-1, resistin, retinol-binding protein 4, insulin, glucagon, haptoglobin and growth hormone were also affected by the dietary intervention. The blood profile reflects not only the weight change during the maintenance period, but also the macronutrient composition of the dietary intervention, especially the protein level.
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