Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of meal replacements (MRs) in weight loss interventions in premenopausal women.
Research methods and procedures: Overweight premenopausal women (n = 113; body mass index: 25 to 35 kg/m(2); 30 to 50 years old) were randomized into three interventions: group A, a dietitian-led intervention; group B, a dietitian-led intervention incorporating MRs; and group C, a clinical office-based intervention incorporating MRs. In year 1, groups A and B attended 26 group sessions, whereas group C received the same educational materials during 26 10-minute office visits with a physician-nurse team. In year 2, participants attended monthly group seminars and drop-in visits with a dietitian.
Results: For the 74 subjects completing year 1, weight loss in the office-based group C was as effective as the traditional dietitian-led group A (4.3 +/- 6.5% vs. 4.1 +/- 6.4%), while group B maintained a significantly greater weight loss (9.1 +/- 8.9%; p < 0.02; mean +/- SD). For the 43 subjects completing year 2, group B showed significant differences in the percentage of weight loss (-8.5 +/- 7.0%) compared with group A (-1.5 +/- 5.0%) and group C (-3.0 +/- 7.0%; p < 0.001).
Discussion: Study results showed that a traditional weight loss intervention incorporating MRs was effective as a weight loss tool in the medical office practice and in the dietitian-led group setting.