Could the concept of homeostasis be applied to weight and body fat? Swedish researchers from the University of Gothenburg wanted to learn whether carrying a weighted load throughout the day would reduce body weight and fat mass in people with obesity. Prior research had demonstrated these outcomes in rodents.

Seventy-two adult men and women ages 18–70 were randomly assigned to wear either a high-load vest (11% of body weight) or a low-load vest (1% of body weight) 8 hours per day for 3 weeks. Body weight loss (relative change after 3 weeks) was significant in the high-load group (both men and women), but not in the low-load group. Weight loss was due to a decrease in fat mass; fat-free mass did not change.

Investigators think these preliminary findings provide proof of concept of a homeostatic effect in body-weight regulation—the gravitostat. Limitations of the study included its short duration.

The study appeared in EClinicalMedicine (2020; doi:10.1016/j.eclinm.2020.100338).

 

See also: Loaded Movement Training