Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Effects of short-term carbohydrate or fat overfeeding on energy expenditure and plasma leptin concentrations in healthy female subjects


OBJECTIVE: To determine the effects of excess carbohydrate or fat intake on plasma leptin concentrations and energy expenditure.

DESIGN: Ten healthy lean females were studied: (a) during a 3 day isoenergetic diet (ISO); (b) during 3 day carbohydrate overfeeding (CHO OF); and (c) during 3 day fat overfeeding (FAT OF). During each test, basal metabolic rate, the energy expended during mild physical activity and recovery, and 24 h energy expenditure (24 h EE) were measured with indirect calorimetry. The concentrations of glucose and lactate were monitored in subcutaneous interstitial fluid over a 24 h period using microdialysis. Plasma hormone and substrate concentrations were measured in a blood sample collected in the morning of the fourth day.

RESULTS: CHO OF increased plasma leptin concentrations by 28%, and 24 h EE by 7%. Basal metabolic rate and the energy expended during physical activity were not affected. FAT OF did not significantly change plasma leptin concentrations or energy expenditure. There was no relationship between changes in leptin concentrations and changes in energy expenditure, suggesting that leptin is not involved in the stimulation of energy metabolism during overfeeding. Interstitial subcutaneous glucose and lactate concentrations were not altered by CHO OF and FAT OF.

CONCLUSIONS: CHO OF, but not FAT OF, increases energy expenditure and leptin concentration.

Your institute does not have access to this article

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1
Figure 2


  1. Ravussin E, Schutz Y, Acheson KJ, Dusmet M, Bourquin L, Jéquier E . Short-term, mixed-diet overfeeding in man: no evidence for ‘luxuskonsumption’ Am J Physiol 1985 249: E470–477.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. Bouchard C . Genetics of obesity: an update on molecular markers Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 1995 19 (Suppl 3): S10–S13.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. Bouchard C, Tremblay A, Després JP, Nadeau A, Lupien PJ, Moorjani S, Thériault G, Kim SY . Overfeeding in identical twins: 5-year postoverfeeding results Metabolism 1996 45: 1042–1050.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Bouchard C . Genetics of obesity in humans: current issues. In The Origins and Consequences of Obesity Wiley: Chichester 1996, pp 108–117.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Levine JA, Eberhardt NL, Jensen MD . Role of nonexercise activity thermogenesis in resistance to fat gain in humans Science 1999 283: 212–214.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Kolaczynski JW, Ohannesian JP, Considine RV, Marco CC, Caro JF . Response of leptin to short-term and prolonged overfeeding in humans J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1996 81: 4162–4165.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. Halaas JL, Gajiwala KS, Maffei M, Cohen SL, Chait BT, Rabinowitz D, Lallone RL, Burley SK, Friedman JM . Weight-reducing effects of the plasma protein encoded by the obese gene Science 1995 269: 543–546.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Campfield LA, Smith FJ, Guisez Y, Devos R, Burn P . Recombinant mouse OB protein: evidence for a peripheral signal linking adiposity and central neural networks Science 1995 269: 546–549.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Larsson H, Elmstahl S, Berglund G, Ahren B . Evidence for leptin regulation of food intake in humans J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1998 83: 4382–4385.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  10. Scarpace PJ, Matheny M, Pollock BH, Tümer N . Leptin increases uncoupling protein expression and energy expenditure Am J Physiol 1997 273: E226–E230.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  11. Doring H, Schwarzer K, Nuesslein-Hildesheim B, Schmidt I . Leptin selectively increases energy expenditure of food-restricted lean mice Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 1998 22: 83–88.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Surmely JF, Voirol MJ, Stefanoni N, Assimacopoulos-Jeannet F, Giacobino JP, Jéquier E, Gaillard RC, Tappy L . Stimulation by leptin of 3H GDP binding to brown adipose tissue of fasted but not fed rats Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 1998 22: 923–926.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Tang-Christensen M, Havel PJ, Jacobs RR, Larsen PJ, Cameron JL . Central administration of leptin inhibits food intake and activates the sympathetic nervous system in rhesus macaques J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1999 84: 711–717.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  14. Blundell JE, Lawton CL, Cotton JR, Macdiarmid JL . Control of human appetite: implications for the intake of dietary fat Annu Rev Nutr 1996 16: 285–319.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Havel PJ, Townsend R, Chaump L, Teff K . High-fat meals reduce 24-h circulating leptin concentrations in women Diabetes 1999 48: 334–341.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Mizuno TM, Bergen H, Funabashi T, Kleopoulos SP, Zhong YG, Bauman WA, Mobbs CV . Obese gene expression: reduction by fasting and stimulation by insulin and glucose in lean mice, and persistent elevation in acquired (diet-induced) and genetic (yellow agouti) obesity Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 1996 93: 3434–3438.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Andersen PH, Kristensen K, Pedersen SB, Hjollund E, Schmitz O, Richelsen B . Effects of long-term total fasting and insulin on ob gene expression in obese patients Eur J Endocrinol 1997 137: 229–233.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Saad MF, Khan A, Sharma A, Michael R, Riad-Gabriel MG, Boyadjian R, Jinagouda SD, Steil GM, Kamdar V . Physiological insulinemia acutely modulates plasma leptin Diabetes 1998 47: 544–549.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Mueller WM, Gregoire FM, Stanhope KL, Mobbs CV, Mizuno TM, Warden CH, Stern JS, Havel PJ . Evidence that glucose metabolism regulates leptin secretion from cultured rat adipocytes Endocrinology 1998 139: 551–558.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Deng C, Moinat M, Curtis L, Nadakal A, Preitner F, Boss O, Assimacopoulos-Jeannet F, Seydoux J, Giacobino JP . Effects of beta-adrenoceptor subtype stimulation on obese gene messenger ribonucleic acid and on leptin secretion in mouse brown adipocytes differentiated in culture Endocrinology 1997 138: 548–552.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Berneis K, Vosmeer S, Keller U . Effects of glucocorticoids and of growth hormone on serum leptin concentrations in man Eur J Endocrinol 1996 135: 663–665.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Durnin JVGA, Womersley J . Body fat assessment for total body density and its estimation from skinfold thickness: measurements on 481 men and women aged from 16 to 72 y Br J Nutr 1974 32: 77–97.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Ravussin E, Lillioja S, Anderson T . Determinants of 24-hour energy expenditure in man: Methods and results using a respiratory chamber J Clin Invest 1986 78: 1568–1578.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Hallman J, Farnebo LO, Hamberger B, Jonsson G . A sensitive method for determination of plasma catecholamines using liquid chromatography with electrochemical detection Life Sci 1978 23: 1049–1052.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Livesey G, Elia M . Estimation of energy expenditure, net carbohydrate utilization, and net fat oxidation and synthesis by indirect calorimetry; evaluation of errors with special reference to the detailed composition of foods Am J Clin Nutr 1988 47: 608–628.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Kolaczynski JW, Considine RV, Ohannesian J, Marco C, Opentanova I, Nyce MR, Myint M, Caro JF . Responses of leptin to short-term fasting and refeeding in humans Diabetes 1996 45: 1511–1515.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Boden G, Chen X, Mozzoli M, Ryan I . Effect of fasting on serum leptin in normal human subjects J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1996 81: 3419–3423.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  28. Flatt J . The biochemistry of energy expenditure. In: Bray GA (ed) Recent Advances in Obesity Research: II Newman: London 1978, pp 211–228.

    Google Scholar 

  29. Mistry AM, Swick AG, Romsos DR . Leptin rapidly lowers food intake and elevates metabolic rates in lean and ob/ob mice J Nutr 1997 127: 2065–2072.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Martin LJ, Jones PJ, Considine RV, Su W, Boyd NF, Caro JF . Serum leptin levels and energy expenditure in normal weight women Can J Physiol Pharmacol 1998 76: 237–241.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Farooqi IS, Jebb SA, Langmack G, Lawrence E, Cheetham CH, Prentice AM, Hughes IA, McCamish MA, O'Rahilly S . Effects of recombinant leptin therapy in a child with congenital leptin deficiency New Engl J Med 1999 341: 879–915.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


This work was supported by a grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation (no. 32-45387.95, E. Jéquier). The authors thank Fresenius AG (Stans, Switzerland) for having provided the nutrition solutions.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to L Tappy.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Dirlewanger, M., Vetta, V., Guenat, E. et al. Effects of short-term carbohydrate or fat overfeeding on energy expenditure and plasma leptin concentrations in healthy female subjects. Int J Obes 24, 1413–1418 (2000).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • leptin
  • 24 h EE
  • basal metabolic rate
  • physical activity
  • insulin
  • glucose
  • microdialysis
  • overfeeding

Further reading


Quick links