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Ann Nutr Metab. 2007;51(5):428-32. Epub 2007 Nov 20.

Fat loss depends on energy deficit only, independently of the method for weight loss.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine IV, Division of Sports Medicine, Medical University Vienna, Vienna, Austria.



This study was designed to compare the effects of 2 different but isocaloric fat reduction programs with the same amount of energy deficit - diet alone or diet combined with aerobic training - on body composition, lipid profile and cardiorespiratory fitness in non- or moderately obese women.


Twenty non- or moderately obese (BMI 24.32 +/- 3.11) females (27.3 +/- 6.6 years) were tested at the beginning and after an 8-week period of a mild hypocaloric diet for the following parameters: (1) body mass and body fat; (2) total cholesterol, HDL-C, LDL-C and triglycerides; (3) lactate (millimol/liter) during submaximal exertion (100 W); (4) heart rate during submaximal exertion (100 W), and (5) maximum exercise performance (watt). Subjects were randomly divided into either a diet alone (D, -2,095 +/- 659 kJ/day) or a diet (-1,420 +/- 1,084 kJ/day) plus exercise (DE, three 60-min sessions per week at 60% of VO(2)max or -5,866 kJ/week) group.


Body mass and body fat decreased significantly in D (-1.95 +/- 1.13 kg or -1.47 +/- 0.87%; p < 0.05) and DE (-2.23 +/- 1.28 kg or -1.59 +/- 0.87%; p < 0.05), but there was no significant difference observed between the groups. Statistical analysis revealed no significant changes of total cholesterol, HDL-C, LDL-C, triglycerides and heart rate during submaximal exertion (100 W). Lactic acid accumulation during submaximal exertion (100 W) decreased significantly (-0.8 +/- 1.4 mmol/l, p < 0.05) in DE and increased significantly (+0.4 +/- 0.5 mmol/l, p < 0.05) in D. Maximum exercise performance improved significantly (+12.2 +/- 8.8 W, p < 0.05) in DE and did not change significantly in D.


This study showed that independently of the method for weight loss, the negative energy balance alone is responsible for weight reduction.

(c) 2007 S. Karger AG, Basel.

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