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Hormone 'Ratio' May Show Which Dieters Will Keep Weight Off
Date:6/26/2012

By Kathleen Doheny
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, June 26 (HealthDay News) -- Losing weight, as any dieter knows, is often the easy part. Keeping it off can be the bigger challenge.

Now Spanish researchers say they have come up with a formula to predict who might be most likely to succeed: Measuring the ratio between the levels of two hormones that regulate weight before a diet begins can predict who might regain the lost pounds later.

Figuring out an individual dieter's chances of success could help experts tailor a weight-loss program to a patient's particular hormonal makeup and hopefully combat their tendency to regain weight, said Ana Crujeiras Martinez, an obesity researcher at the University Hospital of Santiago de Compostela.

Martinez looked at leptin, a hormone made by cells found in fat tissues that tells the body when it has had enough to eat. She also looked at ghrelin, the so-called hunger hormone.

"We have previously demonstrated that patients who regained the lost weight induced by an eight-week diet have different levels of leptin and ghrelin before the beginning of the dietary program than those who maintained the lost body weight," she said. "These results suggest the existence of two different populations of patients according to the leptin and ghrelin levels, which could condition the outcomes."

In the new study, the researchers looked at the leptin/ghrelin ratio as a tool to identify those more likely to regain lost weight.

In the study, Martinez evaluated 88 overweight or obese men and women with an average age of 35.

The subjects fasted and then gave blood samples so their leptin and ghrelin levels could be measured, and then followed a reduced-calorie diet for eight weeks. Their weight losses during that period were recorded. Following up six months later, the researchers found that 40 patients had regained the weight and 48 had not.

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