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Ann Intern Med. 2004 May 18;140(10):778-85.

The effects of low-carbohydrate versus conventional weight loss diets in severely obese adults: one-year follow-up of a randomized trial.

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  • 1Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, and Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

A previous paper reported the 6-month comparison of weight loss and metabolic changes in obese adults randomly assigned to either a low-carbohydrate diet or a conventional weight loss diet.

OBJECTIVE:

To review the 1-year outcomes between these diets.

DESIGN:

Randomized trial.

SETTING:

Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

PARTICIPANTS:

132 obese adults with a body mass index of 35 kg/m2 or greater; 83% had diabetes or the metabolic syndrome.

INTERVENTION:

Participants received counseling to either restrict carbohydrate intake to <30 g per day (low-carbohydrate diet) or to restrict caloric intake by 500 calories per day with <30% of calories from fat (conventional diet).

MEASUREMENTS:

Changes in weight, lipid levels, glycemic control, and insulin sensitivity.

RESULTS:

By 1 year, mean (+/-SD) weight change for persons on the low-carbohydrate diet was -5.1 +/- 8.7 kg compared with -3.1 +/- 8.4 kg for persons on the conventional diet. Differences between groups were not significant (-1.9 kg [95% CI, -4.9 to 1.0 kg]; P = 0.20). For persons on the low-carbohydrate diet, triglyceride levels decreased more (P = 0.044) and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels decreased less (P = 0.025). As seen in the small group of persons with diabetes (n = 54) and after adjustment for covariates, hemoglobin A1c levels improved more for persons on the low-carbohydrate diet. These more favorable metabolic responses to a low-carbohydrate diet remained significant after adjustment for weight loss differences. Changes in other lipids or insulin sensitivity did not differ between groups.

LIMITATIONS:

These findings are limited by a high dropout rate (34%) and by suboptimal dietary adherence of the enrolled persons.

CONCLUSION:

Participants on a low-carbohydrate diet had more favorable overall outcomes at 1 year than did those on a conventional diet. Weight loss was similar between groups, but effects on atherogenic dyslipidemia and glycemic control were still more favorable with a low-carbohydrate diet after adjustment for differences in weight loss.

Comment in

PMID:
15148064
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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