Background: Weight loss in bariatric pre-surgery period reduces surgical complications, surgery time, blood loss, and length of hospital stay. Carbohydrate-restricted diets have been used as an alternative for weight loss. We tested the efficacy of a low-calorie carbohydrate-restricted diet (RD) for short-term weight loss in women with severe obesity and evaluate its metabolic effects in relation to a conventional low-calorie diet (CD).
Methods: The subjects received a 1,200-kcal diet with or without carbohydrate restriction for a period of 1 week in the hospital. Nineteen obesity class III women were distributed into two groups: experimental (n = 10) and control (n = 9). The following variables were assessed at the beginning and end of the study: anthropometric measurements, body composition, resting energy expenditure, substrate oxidation, and biochemical tests.
Results: Compared with CD, RD led to larger weight loss (2.6 and 4.4 kg, respectively; p = 0.01) and waist circumference reduction (p < 0.01). Among the assessed biochemical indicators, only plasma and urine acetone levels were different (p < 0.01); higher values were found in the experimental group with no symptoms and other diet-related complaints. There was also a significant decrease in triglycerides and carbohydrate oxidation, as well as a significant enhancement in lipid oxidation in the RD group.
Conclusion: Short-term RD was more efficient than CD regarding quick weight loss and waist circumference reduction, which may favor gastroplasty. Also, RD did not lead adverse metabolic effects.