No effect of caloric restriction on salivary cortisol levels in overweight men and women

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OBJECTIVE: The effect of weight loss by diet or diet and exercise on salivary cortisol levels, a measure of hypothalamic pituitary adrenal activity, in overweight individuals is not known. The objective was to test the hypothesis that 24 weeks of moderate caloric restriction (CR) (25%) by diet or diet and aerobic exercise would alter morning and diurnal salivary cortisol levels. DESIGN AND SETTING: Randomized control trial in an institutional research center. PARTICIPANTS: Thirty-five overweight (BMI: 27.8±0.7 kg/m(2)) but otherwise healthy participants (16 M/19 F). INTERVENTION: Participants were randomized to either calorie restriction (CR: 25% reduction in energy intake, n=12), calorie restriction+exercise (CR+EX: 12.5% reduction in energy intake+12.5% increase in exercise energy expenditure, n=12) or control (healthy weight-maintenance diet, n=11) for 6 months. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Salivary cortisol measured at 8:00, 8:30, 11:00, 11:30, 12:30, 13:00, 16:00 and 16:30. Morning cortisol was defined as the mean cortisol concentration at 08:00 and 08:30. Diurnal cortisol was calculated as the mean of the 8 cortisol measures across the day. RESULTS: In the whole cohort, higher morning and diurnal cortisol levels were associated with impaired insulin sensitivity (morning: P=0.004, r(2)=0.24; diurnal: P=0.02, r(2)=0.15). Using mixed model analysis, there was no significant effect of group, time or sex on morning or diurnal cortisol levels. CONCLUSION: A 10% weight loss with a 25% CR diet alone or with exercise did not impact morning or diurnal salivary cortisol levels.

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Metabolism: clinical and experimental

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