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May 1999, Volume 23, Number 5, Pages 528-536
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Paper
Randomized trial on protein vs carbohydrate in ad libitum fat reduced diet for the treatment of obesity
A R Skov1, S Toubro1, B Rønn2, L Holm1 and A Astrup1

1Research Department of Human Nutrition, The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Copenhagen, Denmark

2Department of Mathematics, The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Copenhagen, Denmark

Correspondence to: Arne Astrup, Research Department of Human Nutrition, The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Rolighedsvej 30, 1958 Frederiksberg C, Copenhagen, DenmarkE-mail: ast@kvl.dk

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To study the effect on weight loss in obese subjects by replacement of carbohydrate by protein in ad libitum consumed fat-reduced diets.

DESIGN: Randomized dietary intervention study over six months comparing two ad libitum fat reduced diets (30% of total energy) strictly controlled in composition: High-carbohydrate (HC, protein 12% of total energy) or high-protein (HP, protein 25% of total energy).

SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: Subjects were 65 healthy, overweight and obese subjects (50 women, 15 men, aged 18-55 y) randomly assigned to HC (n=25), HP (n=25) or a control group (C, n=15). All food was provided by self-selection in a shop at the department, and compliance to the diet composition was evaluated by urinary nitrogen excretion.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Change in body weight, body composition and blood lipids.

RESULTS: More than 90% completed the trial. Weight loss after six months was 5.1 kg in the HC group and 8.9 kg in the HP group (difference 3.7 kg, 95% confidence interval (CI)(1.3-6.2 kg) P<0.001), and fat loss was 4.3 kg and 7.6 kg, respectively (difference 3.3 kg (1.1-5.5 kg) P<0.0001), whereas no changes occurred in the control group. More subjects lost >10 kg in the HP group (35 %) than in the HC group (9 %). The HP diet only decreased fasting plasma triglycerides and free fatty acids significantly.

CONCLUSIONS: Replacement of some dietary carbohydrate by protein in an ad libitum fat-reduced diet, improves weight loss and increases the proportion of subjects achieving a clinically relevant weight loss. More freedom to choose between protein-rich and complex carbohydrate-rich foods may allow obese subjects to choose more lean meat and dairy products, and hence improve adherence to low-fat diets in weight reduction programs.

Keywords

low-fat diets; ad libitum; high-protein; high-carbohydrate; cardiovascular risk factors; blood lipids; body composition; obesity

Received 26 August 1998; revised 30 November 1998; accepted 8 January 1999
May 1999, Volume 23, Number 5, Pages 528-536
Table of contents    Previous  Abstract  Next   Article  PDF