Smoking may significantly reduce calorie intake by regulating the levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin, a new study has claimed. The study by Konstantina Zachari and colleagues from Harokopio University Athens in Greece examined the acute effect of smoking and its abstinence on dietary intake, subjective feelings and hormones related to appetite.
It involved 14 healthy males who participated in two trials after overnight abstinence from smoking and food: the C-cig, where they smoked two cigarettes of their brand and the S-sham (control) where they held the cigarette as smoking without lighting it. Each trial lasted 15 minutes and after 45 minutes participants ate freely a variety of snacks.
Dietary intake and at standard time points appetite feelings (hunger, satiety, desire to eat) and craving for smoking were recorded. Blood samples were collected and analysed for various hormones including obestatin, ghrelin, GLP-1, CCK and insulin. The researchers found that smoking had an acute effect on dietary intake, reducing it by 152 calories – a statistically significant result.
There was no intervention effect for taste preference (sweet or salty foods) or macronutrient intake. An intervention time effect on plasma ghrelin concentration was found, with ghrelin’s concentration being lower 60 minutes after S-sham, indicating more fullness and food consumption after the S-sham part of the study. There was no intervention effect for appetite feelings, obestatin, CCK, GLP-1 and insulin.
“In our small study, we found that smoking had an acute effect on energy intake that could be mediated by alterations in ghrelin levels,” said Zacchari.