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Nutr Cancer. 2008;60(1):31-8. doi: 10.1080/01635580701621320.

The impact of a long-term reduction in dietary energy density on body weight within a randomized diet trial.

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  • 1Cancer Prevention and Control Program, Moores UCSD Cancer Center, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0901, USA.


We examined the effect of dietary energy density change on body weight in participants of a randomized trial. Intervention participants markedly increased fruit and vegetable intake while reducing energy intake from fat. Participants were 2,718 breast cancer survivors, aged 26-74 yr, with baseline mean body mass index of 27.3 kg/m(2) (SD = 6.3). We assessed dietary intake by sets of four 24-h dietary recalls and validated with plasma carotenoid concentrations. Weight and height were measured at baseline, 1 yr, and 4 yr. Dietary energy density was calculated using food but excluding beverages. Intervention participants significantly reduced dietary energy density compared to controls and maintained it over 4 yr -- both in cross-sectional (P < 0.0001) and longitudinal (Group x Time interaction, P < 0.0001) analyses. Total energy intake or physical activity did not vary between groups. The intervention group had a small but significant weight loss at 1 yr (Group x Time interaction, P < 0.0001), but no between-group weight difference was observed at 4 yr. Our study showed that reducing dietary energy density did not result in a reduction in total energy intake and suggests that this strategy alone is not sufficient to promote long-term weight loss in a free-living population.

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