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Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2002 Nov;26(11):1469-75.

Weight management: a comparison of existing dietary approaches in a work-site setting.

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  • 1University of Glasgow Department of Human Nutrition, Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Glasgow, UK.



(1). To compare the effectiveness a 2512 kJ (600 kcal) daily energy deficit diet (ED) with a 6279 kJ (1500 kcal) generalized low-calorie diet (GLC) over a 24 week period (12 weeks weight loss plus 12 weeks weight maintenance). (2). To determine if the inclusion of lean red meat at least five times per week as part of a slimming diet is compatible with weight loss in comparison with a diet that excludes lean red meat.


Randomized controlled trial.


Large petrochemical work-site.


One-hundred and twenty-two men aged between 18 and 55 y.


Weight loss and maintenance of weight loss.


Eligible volunteers were randomized to one of the four diet/meat combinations (ED meat, ED no meat, GLC meat, GLC no meat). One-third of subjects in each diet/meat combination were randomized to an initial control period prior to receiving dietary advice. All subjects attended for review every 2 weeks during the weight loss period. For the 12 week structured weight maintenance phase, individualized energy prescriptions were re-calculated for the ED group as 1.4 (activity factor) x basal metabolic rate. Healthy eating advice was reviewed with subjects in the GLC group. All subjects were contacted by electronic mail at 2 week intervals and anthropometric and dietary information requested.


No difference was evident between diet groups in mean weight loss at 12 weeks (4.3 (s.d. 3.4) kg ED group vs 5.0 (s.d. 3.5) kg GLC group, P=0.34). Mean weight loss was closer to the intended weight loss in the 2512 kJ (600 kcal) ED group. The dropout rate was also lower than the GLC group. The inclusion of lean red meat in the diet on at least five occasions per week did not impair weight loss. Mean weight gain following 12 weeks weight maintenance was +1.1 (s.d. 1.8) kg, P<0.0001. No differences were found between groups.


This study has shown that the individualized 2512 kJ (600 kcal) ED approach was no more effective in terms of weight loss than the 6279 kJ (1500 kcal) GLC approach. However the ED approach might be considered preferable as compliance was better with this less demanding prescription. In terms of weight loss the elimination of red meat from the diet is unnecessary. The weight maintenance intervention was designed as a low-input approach, however weight regain was significant and weight maintenance strategies require further development.

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