International Journal of Obesity
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April 2000, Volume 24, Number 4, Pages 492-496
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Similar weight loss with low-energy food combining or balanced diets
A Golay1, A-F Allaz2,3, J Ybarra4, P Bianchi1, S Saraiva1, N Mensi1, R Gomis4 and N de Tonnac3

1Division of Therapeutic Patient Education for Chronic Diseases, University Hospital Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland

2Department of Internal Medicine, University Hospital Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland

3Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland

4Servei d'Endocrinologia I Nutricio, Hospital Clinic, Barcelona, Spain

Correspondence to: A Golay, Division of Therapeutic Education for Chronic Diseases, University Hospital Geneva, 24 rue Micheli-du Crest, 1211-Geneva-14, Switzerland.


OBJECTIVE: The goal of this study was to evaluate the effect of two diets ('food combining' or dissociated vs balanced) on body weight and metabolic parameters during a 6-week period in an in-hospital setting.

SUBJECTS AND DESIGN: 54 obese patients were randomly assigned to receive diets containing 4.5 MJ/day (1100 kcal/day) composed of either 25% protein, 47% carbohydrates and 25% lipids (dissociated diet) or 25% protein, 42% carbohydrates and 31% lipids (balanced diet). Consequently, the two diets were equally low in energy and substrate content (protein, fat and carbohydrate) but widely differed in substrate distribution throughout the day.

RESULTS: There was no significant difference in the amount of weight loss in response to dissociated (6.2 ± 0.6 kg) or balanced (7.5 ± 0.4 kg) diets. Furthermore, significant decreases in total body fat and waist-to-hip circumference ratio were seen in both groups, and the magnitude of the changes did not vary as a function of the diet composition. Fasting plasma glucose, insulin, total cholesterol and triacylglycerol concentrations decreased significantly and similarly in patients receiving both diets. Both systolic and diastolic blood pressure values decreased significantly in patients eating balanced diets. The results of this study show that both diets achieved similar weight loss. Total fat weight loss was higher in balanced diets, although differences did not reach statistical significance. Total lean body mass was identically spared in both groups.

CONCLUSION: In summary at identical energy intake and similar substrate composition, the dissociated (or 'food combining') diet did not bring any additional loss in weight and body fat.

International Journal of Obesity (2000) 24, 492-496


weight loss; dissociated diet; balanced diet

Received 4 May 1999; revised 17 September 1999; accepted 26 November 1999
April 2000, Volume 24, Number 4, Pages 492-496
Table of contents    Previous  Abstract  Next   Full text  PDF