Regular exercise attenuates the metabolic drive to regain weight after long-term weight loss

Center for Human Nutrition, Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism, University of Colorado Denver, Denver, Colorado, USA.
AJP Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology (Impact Factor: 3.11). 08/2009; 297(3):R793-802. DOI: 10.1152/ajpregu.00192.2009
Source: PubMed


Weight loss is accompanied by several metabolic adaptations that work together to promote rapid, efficient regain. We employed a rodent model of regain to examine the effects of a regular bout of treadmill exercise on these adaptations. Obesity was induced in obesity-prone rats with 16 wk of high-fat feeding and limited physical activity. Obese rats were then weight reduced (approximately 14% of body wt) with a calorie-restricted, low-fat diet and maintained at that reduced weight for 8 wk by providing limited provisions of the diet with (EX) or without (SED) a daily bout of treadmill exercise (15 m/min, 30 min/day, 6 days/wk). Weight regain, energy balance, fuel utilization, adipocyte cellularity, and humoral signals of adiposity were monitored during eight subsequent weeks of ad libitum feeding while the rats maintained their respective regimens of physical activity. Regular exercise decreased the rate of regain early in relapse and lowered the defended body weight. During weight maintenance, regular exercise reduced the biological drive to eat so that it came closer to matching the suppressed level of energy expenditure. The diurnal extremes in fuel preference observed in weight-reduced rats were blunted, since exercise promoted the oxidation of fat during periods of feeding (dark cycle) and promoted the oxidation of carbohydrate (CHO) later in the day during periods of deprivation (light cycle) . At the end of relapse, exercise reestablished the homeostatic steady state between intake and expenditure to defend a lower body weight. Compared with SED rats, relapsed EX rats exhibited a reduced turnover of energy, a lower 24-h oxidation of CHO, fewer adipocytes in abdominal fat pads, and peripheral signals that overestimated their adiposity. These observations indicate that regimented exercise altered several metabolic adaptations to weight reduction in a manner that would coordinately attenuate the propensity to regain lost weight.

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    • "This phenomenon appears to be dependent upon restoration of true energy balance or even positive energy balance (not continued energy restriction) (Stolzenberg-Solomon et al., 2012), although positive energy balance was not a panacea for all aspects of the adaptive response to energy restriction (Purcell et al., 2014;Sumithran et al., 2011), as reviewed elsewhere (Sainsbury A, Seimon RV, Hills AP, Wood RE, King NA, Gibson AA, Byrne NM, submitted manuscript). Deactivation of adaptive responses to energy restriction may also occur more effectively when exercise is incorporated into the weight management regime (Sainsbury A, Seimon RV, Hills AP, Wood RE, King NA, Gibson AA, Byrne NM, submitted manuscript;Hunter et al., 2015;Weinsier et al., 2001;Foright, 2014;MacLean et al., 2009;Steig et al., 2011). Taken together, this literature would suggest that deliberate periods of energy balance during weight loss interventions e as in IER e could attenuate or deactivate various adaptive responses to energy restriction and thereby increase the efficiency of weight loss. "
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    ABSTRACT: Energy restriction induces physiological effects that hinder further weight loss. Thus, deliberate periods of energy balance during weight loss interventions may attenuate these adaptive responses to energy restriction and thereby increase the efficiency of weight loss (i.e. the amount of weight or fat lost per unit of energy deficit). To address this possibility, we systematically searched MEDLINE, PreMEDLINE, PubMed and Cinahl and reviewed adaptive responses to energy restriction in 40 publications involving humans of any age or body mass index that had undergone a diet involving intermittent energy restriction, 12 with direct comparison to continuous energy restriction. Included publications needed to measure one or more of body weight, body mass index, or body composition before and at the end of energy restriction. 31 of the 40 publications involved 'intermittent fasting' of 1-7-day periods of severe energy restriction. While intermittent fasting appears to produce similar effects to continuous energy restriction to reduce body weight, fat mass, fat-free mass and improve glucose homeostasis, and may reduce appetite, it does not appear to attenuate other adaptive responses to energy restriction or improve weight loss efficiency, albeit most of the reviewed publications were not powered to assess these outcomes. Intermittent fasting thus represents a valid - albeit apparently not superior - option to continuous energy restriction for weight loss.
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    • "These findings are in agreement with the studies of Ebal et al (2), and Elj et al (3), which showed reduction in weight gain and food intake during five weeks of moderate strength exercise in rats. This significant lower body weight in trained rats may be due to the changed body composition by reducing fat mass as a result of exercise training (2, 3, 20), and negative energy balance linked with increased energy expenditure during the exercise (1). Chaolu et al, showed that the food intake of the mice in the exercise groups significantly increased as compared to the non-exercise groups (21). "
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