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Weight Loss Modest for Most Macronutrient Diets

Weight loss, CV risk factors improved over six months, but benefits mainly diminished at 12 months

THURSDAY, April 2, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Most macronutrient diets result in modest weight loss and improvements in cardiovascular risk factors over six months, according to a review and meta-analysis published online April 1 in The BMJ.

Long Ge, Ph.D., from the School of Public Health at Lanzhou University in China, and colleagues conducted a systematic review to determine the relative effectiveness of dietary macronutrient patterns and diet programs among overweight or obese adults. Data were included for 121 eligible trials with 21,942 patients and reported on 14 named diets and three control diets.

The researchers found that low-carbohydrate and low-fat diets had a similar effect on weight loss (4.63 versus 4.37 kg) and reduction in systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure (5.14 versus 5.05 mm Hg and 3.21 versus 2.85 mm Hg, respectively) compared with usual diet at six months. Slightly less weight loss and lower blood pressure reductions were seen with moderate macronutrient diets. Compared with usual diet, the popular named diets with the largest effect on weight reduction and blood pressure at six months were Atkins, Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, and Zone. Among all macronutrient patterns and popular named diets, weight loss diminished at 12 months, while the benefits for cardiovascular risk factors of all interventions essentially disappeared, except the Mediterranean diet.

"Differences between diets are, however, generally trivial to small, implying that people can choose the diet they prefer from among many of the available diets without concern about the magnitude of benefits," the authors write.

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