Study comparing regain in low calorie vs a very low calorie diets.

  • I thought this study was interesting. Here's the full info:

    The effect of rate of weight loss on long‐term weight regain in adults with overweight and obesity
    Roel G. Vink Nadia J. T. Roumans Laura A. J. Arkenbosch Edwin C. M. Mariman Marleen A. van Baak
    First published: 27 January 2016

    Some main findings/points:

    The study wanted to look at whether losing weight very quickly on a very low calorie diet (VLCD) vs losing weight slower on a low calorie diet (LCD) had any effect on whether someone regained weight, and how much they regained.

    They had both groups lose the same amount of weight (VLCD had 500 calories for 5 weeks; LCD had 1250 for 12 weeks).

    They found that both methods of weight loss showed statistically the same amount of regain (they did a 1 year maintenance diet and then a 1 year followup). This suggests that losing weight quickly or not quickly doesn't influence whether someone regains weight.

    The VLCD group lost more fat free mass (FFM), but they still didn't regain more than the LCD group. However, the difference was small.

    They looked at 'weight cycling' (losing and regaining cycles) and found that that didn't correlate with weight regain after the study either. That suggests that weight yoyoing doesn't make it harder to keep the weight off OR make you regain more than you lost (it DOES increase risk of heart problems, though).

    They did a questionnaire about physical activity (PA), and reduced PA after the study DID correlated with weight regain. This suggests exercise is one important factor to maintain weight loss. Or at least lack of it is related to weight regain.
  • nice one Chanticleer - thanks for posting.
    I like it that you keep finding these scientific studies - it's a refreshing change from too many 'old wives tales' that flood dieting discussions!

    I've been going fairly hard this year, and was slightly worried that maybe it would have been 'better' if i'd gone more slowly, but it's encouraging to hear that's not the case. Maybe settling in to a 'maintenance' mode might be a bit harder if you've been VLCD as it might be further away from what you've already been doing and more difficult to adjust, than if you've just been doing a LCD. And i thought perhaps it might be harder to miss the buzz of getting new low weigh-ins regularly when you go from VLCD to maintenance, but great to hear these factors aren't statistically significant
  • Not statistically different numbers, but the fat free body mass loss was still higher for VLCD vs LCD. Likely confounded by the 52g vs 92g protein intake, in addition to NEAT differences due to energy levels. After cycling through the weight loss parameters given, there could be as much as a 5% body fat variation at the end of it, depending on the individual. There's quite a difference, appearance wise, between 20%BF and 25%BF in women, for example. I know which one I'd rather.

    But yeah, definitely interesting data, thanks for sharing!
  • ange: A big part of my work is finding and relying on scientific research rather than anecdotal stories, so I like to apply that to things about my weight loss, too. But yeah, the VLCD group (which ate all meal replacements, I think) regained at the same rate as the LCD group, which had more regular meals. And it was a randomized approach, so that's even better.

    Defining: Yes, there was a difference in FFM (0.6 kg) between groups, but they acknowledge it could have been because of their method of measuring body fat (they note another similar study where no such difference was found between groups), so we do need more data on this. If rate of weight loss does directly affect FFM loss, it might also be able to be solved by upping protein intake in VLCD and/or incorporating a physical activity component as part of the study. I'd be interested to see studies on that.
    What I also found interesting is even the apparent difference in FFM loss didn't affect weight regain.
  • Good news thanks