Gut hormone responses

female runnerWeak gut hormone responses to food could explain why some people don’t lose fat with exercise training.

  • Exercise training gives rise to a variable degree of body weight and fat mass loss, and is associated with individual differences in appetite control (subjective hunger, food choice and energy intake). Gut hormones released during and after eating are known to influence appetite but their role in exercise-induced compensatory eating was previously unknown.
  • Full4Health partners, Graham Finlayson, John Blundell and Catherine Gibbons from University of Leeds investigated the role of postprandial (post-meal) peptides (total and acylated ghrelin, insulin, CCK, GLP-1 and PYY) in overweight and obese men and women during 12-weeks supervised exercise.
    • Exercisers were classified as Responders (expected fat loss) or Non-Responders (less than expected fat loss) according to measured body composition changes. A control group of non-exercisers were measured over the same time-course.
    • Despite no differences in body weight or fat mass between Responders and Non-Responders before exercise training, Responders showed a greater postprandial suppression of acylated ghrelin along with higher levels of GLP-1 and PYY both before and after exercise.
  • Thus postprandial gut hormone responses appear to form part of the pre-existing physiology of exercise Responders compared to Non-Responders and may explain differences underlying exercise-induced compensatory eating.
  • Physical inactivity and overconsumption of calories/food are independent risk factors for morbidity and mortality. Exercise is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. Understanding the relationship between physical activity, overconsumption and obesity for a range of health outcomes is critical.
  • Conference abstract submitted to International Congress on Obesity, Vancouver, May 2016

Authors: C Gibbons, P Caudwell, D-L Webb, P Hellstrom, E Naslund, J Blundell and G Finlayson


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