Low Fat Ad Libitum Diet and Weight Loss 
Author Message
 Low Fat Ad Libitum Diet and Weight Loss

Recently I was asked to comment on weight loss claims made for
low fat ad libitum (i.e. eat as much as you wish) diets.
Particular reference was made to "Weight loss on a low-fat diet:
consequence of the imprecision of the control of cooking.net">food intake in
humans" (American Jounral of Clinical Nutrition 1991;53;1124-9).

Different individuals (lean, fat, dieters, etc.) react very
differently to changes in diet.  Effects seen on one type of
individual may not apply to others.

The selection criteria for the experimental group are the most
interesting facet of this report.  Women were chosen who: 1)
weighed more than the Metropolitan Life Insurance Ideal Weight,
2) were not trying to lose weight, 3) who liked the foods on the
study diet.  Since nearly 60 per cent of college freshman women
diet, this experimental group strikes me as a strange flock of

The charts on page 1126 and 1127 indicate the subjects' total
energy intake was initially depressed by 16 per cent, but was
inexorably returning to normal.  Weight loss on the low fat diet
appears to have reached a plateau at the 8 week stage of the 11
week trial.

The experimenters were puzzled by the observation that the
weight loss was about half the amount expected based on the
reduced energy intake.  A number of possibilities were
discussed, but readers of Adiposity 101 can add some that the
diet experimenters didn't admit to in print.

Low fat diets have been around for a decade or more.  Almost any
diet can be guaranteed to cause a quick if impermanent weight
loss in a {*filter*} dieter, am 11 week study such as the above is
of limited value.

Until some relevant research shows up, we must content ourselves with
the anecdotal observation by a Pritkin Foundation official that the
Pritkin diet causes a *slight* weight loss.


       Any study that takes weight loss as a goal should include
       the following information.

          + Weight, height, and Body Mass Index (BMI) for subjects
            at entry, then weight and BMI at each follow-up time.

          + When expressed as means, these values should be
            accompanied by the standard deviation, not the standard

          + Data for males and females should always be separated.

          + If the study contains more than one experimental group
            and/or a control group, subjects must be randomly
            assigned to each group.

          + If the study contains more than one experimental group
            and/or a control group, the data should be presented
            for each group.

          + Studies with 50 or fewer subjects should present
            individual data.

          + Data should include followup for a minimum of three
            years after treatment.

          + If there are drop-outs, the remaining number of
            subjects should be recalculated and reported along with
            the mean weight at follow-up.  Almost all drop-outs
            regain their weight loss or more, and must be
            calculated this way.
       (Based on recommendations by by William Bennett,  Harvard
       Medical School Health Letter)

Sat, 13 Nov 1993 09:01:30 GMT
 [ 1 post ] 

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