Effects of Dietary Composition on Energy Expenditure After Weight Loss

Michele Reed, PharmD
Published Online: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
A recently published study evaluated the effects of 3 diets differing widely in macronutrient composition and glycemic load on energy expenditure following weight loss.1 This controlled, 3-way cross- over design examined overweight and obese young adults (n = 21) and was conducted between June 16, 2006, and June 21, 2010, at Children’s Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.

After achieving 10% to 15% weight loss while consuming a run-in diet, study subjects consumed an isocaloric low fat diet, a low glycemic index diet, and a very low carbohydrate diet in random order, each for 4 weeks. The primary end point was resting energy expenditure (REE), with secondary outcomes of total energy expenditure (TEE), hormone levels, and metabolic syndrome components.

Results showed that the decrease in REE was greatest with the low fat diet (mean [95% CI], -205 [-265 to -144] kcal/d), intermediate with the low glycemic index diet (-166 [-227 to -106] kcal/d), and least with the very low carbohydrate diet (CI-138 [CI-198 to -77] kcal/d; overall P = .03; P for trend by glycemic load = .009). Investigators concluded that isocaloric feeding following 10% to 15% weight loss resulted in decreases in REE and TEE that were greatest with the low fat diet, intermediate with the low glycemic index diet, and least with the very low carbohydrate diet.

Dr. Reed received her doctor of pharmacy degree from the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and currently works as a medical editor in the greater Philadelphia area.

1. Ebbeling CB, Swain JF, Feldman HA, et al. Effects of dietary composition on energy expenditure during weight-loss maintenance. JAMA. 2012;307(24):2627-2634.

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