COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE
RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL

The effect of a low-fat, high-protein or high-carbohydrate ad libitum diet on weight loss maintenance and metabolic risk factors

M Claessens, M A van Baak, S Monsheimer, W H M Saris
International Journal of Obesity: Journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity 2009, 33 (3): 296-304
19153580

BACKGROUND: High-protein (HP) diets are often advocated for weight reduction and weight loss maintenance.

OBJECTIVE: The aim was to compare the effect of low-fat, high-carbohydrate (HC) and low-fat, HP ad libitum diets on weight maintenance after weight loss induced by a very low-calorie diet, and on metabolic and cardiovascular risk factors in healthy obese subjects.

DESIGN: Forty-eight subjects completed the study that consisted of an energy restriction period of 5-6 weeks followed by a weight maintenance period of 12 weeks. During weight maintenance subjects received maltodextrin (HC group) or protein (HP group) (casein (HPC subgroup) or whey (HPW subgroup)) supplements (2 x 25 g per day), respectively and consumed a low-fat diet.

RESULTS: Subjects in the HP diet group showed significantly better weight maintenance after weight loss (2.3 kg difference, P=0.04) and fat mass reduction (2.2 kg difference, P=0.02) than subjects in the HC group. Triglyceride (0.6 mM difference, P=0.01) and glucagon (9.6 pg ml(-1) difference, P=0.02) concentrations increased more in the HC diet group, while glucose (0.3 mM difference, P=0.02) concentration increased more in the HP diet group. Changes in total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol, insulin, HOMAir index, HbA1c, leptin and adiponectin concentrations did not differ between the diets. No differences were found between the casein- or whey-supplemented HP groups.

CONCLUSIONS: These results show that low-fat, high-casein or whey protein weight maintenance diets are more effective for weight control than low-fat, HC diets and do not adversely affect metabolic and cardiovascular risk factors in weight-reduced moderately obese subjects without metabolic or cardiovascular complications.

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