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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2011 Jun;19(6):1177-81. doi: 10.1038/oby.2010.298. Epub 2010 Dec 16.

Dietary adherence during weight loss predicts weight regain.

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Department of Nutrition Sciences, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, USA.


This study examined the relationship between previous dietary adherence during a low-calorie diet weight loss intervention and subsequent weight change during a 2-year follow-up for weight maintenance. One hundred and sixteen healthy, recently weight reduced (lost ~12 kg, BMI 22-25 kg/m2) premenopausal women were studied. Dietary adherence was assessed by doubly labeled water (DLW) and body composition change. Comparisons were made between the upper and lower tertiles for previous dietary adherence and subsequent weight change at 1- and 2-year follow-up. Percent weight regained was significantly lower (30.9 ± 6.7% vs. 66.7 ± 9.4%; P < 0.05) in the upper compared to the lower adherence tertile for previous weight loss dietary adherence (49.9 ± 8.8% vs. 96.8 ± 12.8% P < 0.05) at 1- and 2-year follow-up, respectively. This difference was partly explained by increases in daily activity-related energy expenditure (AEE) (+95 ± 45 kcal/day vs. -44 ± 42 kcal/day, P < 0.05) and lower daily energy intake (2,066 ± 71 kcal/day vs. 2,289 ± 62 kcal/day, P < 0.05) in the higher tertile for previous dietary adherence, compared to the lower. These findings suggest that higher adherence (i.e., higher tertile) to the previous low-calorie diet predicts lower weight regain over 2-year follow-up for weight maintenance, which is explained by lower energy intake and higher physical activity. Finally, how well an individual adheres to a low-calorie diet intervention during weight loss may be a useful tool for identifying individuals who are particularly vulnerable to subsequent weight regain.

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