Adipocytokine changes caused by low-carbohydrate compared to conventional diets in obesity

Prakash Seshadri, Frederick F. Samaha, Linda Stern, Rexford S. Ahima, Denise Daily, Nayyar Iqbal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Modest weight loss causing a decrease in insulin resistance has been linked to favorable changes in the adipocyte cytokines leptin, adiponectin, and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), three emerging risk factors of cardiovascular disease. We previously observed a significant reduction in insulin resistance with weight loss in obese subjects on a low-carbohydrate diet. Based on these previous findings, we hypothesize that a low-carbohydrate diet would be more beneficial in changing leptin, TNF-α, and adiponectin than a conventional diet. A total of 75 severely obese (body mass index ≥ 35 kg/m2) subjects were randomized to instruction of 6 months of a low-carbohydrate diet or a conventional calorie-restricted diet. Serum levels of leptin, TNF-α, TNF-α-soluble receptor 1 (TNF-α SR1), and adiponectin were measured at baseline and after 6 months of dietary intervention. Subjects on low-carbohydrate diets experienced a greater decrease in leptin when compared to conventional dieters (p < 0.001). TNF-α increased significantly in nondiabetic subjects on conventional vs. low-carbohydrate diets (p = 0.003). Adiponectin and TNF-α SR1 change were not significantly different between diets. This is the first study to report the effects of dietary macronutrient alterations on serum adipocytokines in a randomized controlled trial. The greater reduction in insulin resistance and weight on a low-carbohydrate diet, in the short term, translates into greater improvement in leptin but with no significant improvements in TNF-α or adiponectin in patients with moderate to severe obesity after 6 months of dietary intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)66-74
Number of pages9
JournalMetabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 24 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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