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Initial weight loss on an 800-kcal diet as a predictor of weight loss success after 8 weeks: the Diogenes study



The purpose of this study was to investigate whether pre-treatment subject characteristics and weight change during the first weeks of a low-calorie diet (LCD) can predict weight loss outcomes at the end of a controlled 8-week weight loss period in overweight and obese adults.


A total of 932 overweight and obese subjects of both genders were included at eight European centers, and underwent an 8-week LCD period.


The weight loss at week 8 was positively correlated with initial body weight (Spearman's ρ=0.62), height (ρ=0.43), body mass index (ρ=0.43), waist (ρ=0.48) and hip circumference (ρ=0.33), sagittal diameter (ρ=0.45), fat mass (ρ=0.35) and fat-free mass (ρ=0.52), and gender (ρ=−0.36) (all P<0.01). In the multivariate regression model, adjusted for center, only initial body weight, early weight loss (week 1) and weight loss at week 3 were significant predictors of weight loss outcome at week 8: weight loss (kg) at week 8=0.09+0.046 × baseline body weight (kg)−0.311 × weight loss (kg) at week 1+1.284 × weight loss (kg) at week 3 (R2=68%, P<0.0001). A weight loss of 2.6 kg at week 1 during the LCD period was identified as the optimal cut-off predictor for at least 10 kg weight loss at week 8.


This study suggests that initial body weight, early weight loss (week 1) and weight loss at week 3 are predictors of final weight loss during an 8-week LCD, and may be used as early biomarkers of subsequent responses to an LCD diet.

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We thank the project staff and all the contributors to the project. DiOGenes is the acronym of the project ‘Diet, Obesity and Genes’ supported by the European Community (Contract no. FOOD-CT-2005–513946),

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Correspondence to A Astrup.

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Handjieva-Darlenska, T., Handjiev, S., Larsen, T. et al. Initial weight loss on an 800-kcal diet as a predictor of weight loss success after 8 weeks: the Diogenes study. Eur J Clin Nutr 64, 994–999 (2010).

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  • body weight
  • predictors of weight loss
  • gender
  • cut-off value

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