Leptin concentrations in response to acute stress predict subsequent intake of comfort foods

Department of Psychology, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
Physiology & Behavior (Impact Factor: 2.98). 05/2012; 107(1):34-9. DOI: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2012.04.021
Source: PubMed


Both animals and humans show a tendency toward eating more "comfort food" (high fat, sweet food) after acute stress. Such stress eating may be contributing to the obesity epidemic, and it is important to understand the underlying psychobiological mechanisms. Prior investigations have studied what makes individuals eat more after stress; this study investigates what might make individuals eat less. Leptin has been shown to increase following a laboratory stressor, and is known to regulate satiety. This study examined whether leptin reactivity accounts for individual differences in stress eating. To test this, we exposed forty women to standardized acute psychological laboratory stress (Trier Social Stress Test) while blood was sampled repeatedly for measurements of plasma leptin. We then measured food intake after the stressor. Increasing leptin during the stressor predicted lower intake of comfort food. These initial findings suggest that acute changes in leptin may be one of the factors modulating down the consumption of comfort food following stress.

Download full-text


Available from: Eli Puterman, Feb 17, 2014
  • Source
    • "The perception of too much decision authority may lead to increased stress, resulting in increased food consumption and changes in the way the body processes food, leading to excess fat accumulation. While the psychobiological mechanisms underlying the association between stress and increased eating have been discussed elsewhere (Adam and Epel, 2007; Tomiyama et al., 2012), further research is required to understand the nature of the positive energy balance. Future research may consider the relative contributions of excess energy intake and inadequate physical activity associated with work stress, and how excess decision authority may be implicated. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Introduction: The Job Demand-Control-Support (JDCS) model is commonly used to investigate associations between psychosocial work factors and employee health, yet research considering obesity using the JDCS model remains inconclusive. Objective: This study investigates which parts of the JDCS model are associated with measures of obesity and provides a comparison between waist circumference (higher values imply central obesity) and body mass index (BMI, higher values imply overall obesity). Methods: Contrary to common practice, in this study the JDCS components are not reduced into composite or global scores. In light of emerging evidence that the two components of job control (skill discretion and decision authority) could have differential associations with related health outcomes, components of the JDCS model were analysed at the subscale level. A cross-sectional design with a South Australian cohort (N = 450) combined computer-assisted telephone interview data and clinic-measured height, weight and waist circumference. Results: After controlling for sex, age, household income, work hours and job nature (blue vs. white-collar), the two components of job control were the only parts of the JDCS model to hold significant associations with measures of obesity. Notably, the associations between skill discretion and waist circumference (b = −.502, p = .001), and skill discretion and BMI (b = −.163, p = .005) were negative. Conversely, the association between decision authority and waist circumference (b = .282, p = .022) was positive. Conclusion: These findings are significant since skill discretion and decision authority are typically combined into a composite measure of job control or decision latitude. Our findings suggest skill discretion and decision authority should be treated separately since combining these theoretically distinct components may conceal their differential associations with measures of obesity, masking their individual importance. Psychosocial work factors displayed stronger associations and explained greater variance in waist circumference compared with BMI, and possible reasons for this are discussed.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · Social Science & Medicine
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Combating unhealthy weight gain is a major public health and clinical management issue. The extent of research into the etiology and pathophysiology of obesity has produced a wealth of evidence regarding the contributing factors. While aspects of the environment are ‘obesogenic’, weight gain is not inevitable for every individual. What then explains potentially unhealthy weight gain in individuals living within an environment where others remain lean? In this paper we explore the biological compensation that acts in response to a reduced energy intake by reducing energy needs, in order to defend against weight loss. We then examine the evidence that there is only a weak biological compensation to surplus energy supply, and that this allows behavior to drive weight gain. The extent to which biology impacts behavior is also considered.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2013
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Obesity is a disease that has become a serious public health issue worldwide, and chronic stressors, which are a problem for modern society, cause neuroendocrine changes with alterations in food intake. Obesity and chronic stress are associated with the development of cardiovascular diseases and metabolic disorders. In this study, a rat model was used to evaluate the effects of a hypercaloric diet plus chronic restraint stress on the serum leptin and lipids levels and on the weight of specific adipose tissue (mesenteric, MAT; subcutaneous, SAT and visceral, VAT). Wistar rats were divided into the following 4 groups: standard chow (C), hypercaloric diet (HD), stress plus standard chow (S), and stress plus hypercaloric diet (SHD). The animals in the stress groups were subjected to chronic stress (placed inside a 25cm×7cm plastic tube for 1h per day, 5 days per week for 6 weeks). The following parameters were evaluated: the weight of the liver, adrenal glands and specific adipose tissue; the delta weight; the Lee index; and the serum levels of leptin, corticosterone, glucose, total cholesterol, and triglycerides. The hypercaloric diet induced obesity in rats, increasing the Lee index, weight, leptin, triglycerides, and cholesterol levels. The stress decreased weight gain even in animals fed a hypercaloric diet but did not prevent a significant increase in the Lee index. However, an interaction between the independent factors (hypercaloric diet and stress) was observed, which is demonstrated by the increased serum leptin levels in the animals exposed to both protocols.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2012 · Peptides
Show more