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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2017 Apr;25(4):713-720. doi: 10.1002/oby.21790.

Stress, cortisol, and other appetite-related hormones: Prospective prediction of 6-month changes in food cravings and weight.

Author information

1
University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.
2
University of Pennsylvania Center for Weight and Eating Disorders at the Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.
3
Department of Internal Medicine, Section of Endocrinology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, USA.
4
Department of Pediatrics, Section of Endocrinology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, USA.
5
Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, USA.
6
Yale School of Public Health, New Haven, Connecticut, USA.
7
Department of Psychology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA.
8
National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, New York, New York, USA.
9
Yale Stress Center, New Haven, Connecticut, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To examine whether baseline chronic stress, morning cortisol, and other appetite-related hormones (leptin, ghrelin, and insulin) predict future weight gain and food cravings in a naturalistic, longitudinal, 6-month follow-up study.

METHODS:

A prospective community cohort of 339 adults (age 29.1 ± 9.0 years; BMI = 26.7 ± 5.4 kg/m2 ; 56.9% female; 70.2% white) completed assessments at baseline and 6-month follow-up. Fasting blood draws were used to assess cortisol and other appetite-related hormone levels at baseline. At baseline and follow-up, body weight was measured, and the Cumulative Adversity Interview and Food Craving Inventory were administered. Data were analyzed using linear mixed models adjusting for demographic and clinical covariates.

RESULTS:

Over the 6-month period, 49.9% of the sample gained weight. Food cravings and chronic stress decreased over 6 months (Ps < 0.05). However, after adjusting for covariates, individuals with higher baseline total ghrelin had significantly higher food cravings at 6 months (P = 0.04). Furthermore, higher cortisol, insulin, and chronic stress were each predictive of greater future weight gain (Ps < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS:

These results suggest that ghrelin plays a role in increased food cravings and reward-driven eating behaviors. Studies are needed that examine the utility of stress reduction methods for normalizing disrupted cortisol responses and preventing future weight gain.

PMID:
28349668
PMCID:
PMC5373497
[Available on 2018-04-01]
DOI:
10.1002/oby.21790
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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