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Int J Obes (Lond). 2009 Jan;33(1):46-53. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2008.221. Epub 2008 Nov 11.

The glucostatic theory of appetite control and the risk of obesity and diabetes.

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  • 1Division of Kinesiology, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Laval University, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.


More than 50 years ago, Jean Mayer proposed that changes in blood glucose concentrations or arteriovenous glucose differences are detected by glucoreceptors that affect energy intake. According to this theory, an increase in blood glucose concentrations results in increased feelings of satiety whereas a drop in blood glucose concentrations has the opposite effect. The pioneering work of Mayer has recently received support from our group as low glycemia has been shown to be linked with body weight gain prospectively and has been considered as a strong predictor of the amount of weight regained after weight loss. This state of mild hypoglycemia also predicts the increase in depressive symptoms with weight loss and a greater propensity to glucose intolerance and type 2 diabetes, particularly for individuals having short sleep durations. Furthermore, knowledge-based work has been shown to induce a significant increase in spontaneous energy intake being related to changes in glycemic control. In accordance with the glucostatic theory, this oriented review suggests that factors favoring a trend toward hypoglycemia and/or glucose instability might induce excess energy intake, overweight and impaired glucose tolerance. Data also raise the possibility that fat gain might be protective against mild hypoglycemia by providing compensation to the stimuli promoted by a modern environment.

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