THE DEFENCE OF BODY WEIGHT: A PHYSIOLOGICAL BASIS FOR WEIGHT REGAIN AFTER WEIGHT LOSS

Priya SUMITHRAN and Joseph PROIETTO

Abstract

Although weight loss can usually be achieved by restricting food intake, the majority of dieters regain weight over
the long-term. In the hypothalamus, hormonal signals from the gastrointestinal tract, adipose tissue and other
peripheral sites are integrated to influence appetite and energy expenditure. Diet-induced weight loss is
accompanied by several physiological changes which encourage weight regain, including alterations in energy
expenditure, substrate metabolism and hormone pathways involved in appetite regulation, many of which persist
beyond the initial weight loss period. Safe effective long-term strategies to overcome these physiological changes
are needed to help facilitate maintenance of weight loss. The present review, which focuses on data from human
studies, begins with an outline of body weight regulation to provide the context for the subsequent discussion of
short- and long-term physiological changes which accompany diet-induced weight loss.