Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
CMAJ. 2006 Jan 3;174(1):56-63.

Diet in the management of weight loss.

Author information

  • 1Department of Nutrition, Faculty of Medicine, and the Research Centre of Notre-Dame Hospital, Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal, Université de Montréal.


Obesity is an established risk factor for numerous chronic diseases, and successful treatment will have an important impact on medical resources utilization, health care costs, and patient quality of life. With over 60% of our population being overweight, physicians face a major challenge in assisting patients in the process of weight loss and weight-loss maintenance. Low-calorie diets can lower total body weight by an average of 8% in the short term. These diets are well-tolerated and characterize successful strategies in maintaining significant weight loss over a 5-year period. Very-low-calorie diets produce a more rapid weight loss but should only be used for fewer than 16 weeks because of clinical adverse effects. Diets that are severely restricted in carbohydrates (3%-10% of total energy intake) and do not emphasize a reduction of energy intake may be effective in reducing weight in the short term, but there is no evidence that they are sustainable or innocuous in the long term because their high saturated-fat content may be atherogenic. Fat restriction in a weight-loss regimen is beneficial, but the optimal percentage has yet to be determined. Longitudinal trials are needed to resolve these issues. In this article I discuss the evidence for and pitfalls of various types of weight-loss diets and identify issues that physicians need to address in weight loss and weight-loss maintenance.

Comment in

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk