Body composition, dietary composition, and components of metabolic syndrome in overweight and obese adults after a 12-week trial on dietary treatments focused on portion control, energy density, or glycemic index

Nutr J. 2012 Aug 27:11:57. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-11-57.


Background: Given the rise in obesity and associated chronic diseases, it is critical to determine optimal weight management approaches that will also improve dietary composition and chronic disease risk factors. Few studies have examined all these weight, diet, and disease risk variables in subjects participating in recommended multi-disciplinary weight loss programs using different dietary strategies.

Methods: This study compared effects of three dietary approaches to weight loss on body composition, dietary composition and risk factors for metabolic syndrome (MetS). In a 12-week trial, sedentary but otherwise healthy overweight and obese adults (19 M & 138 F; 38.7±6.7 y; BMI 31.8±2.2) who were attending weekly group sessions for weight loss followed either portion control, low energy density, or low glycemic index diet plans. At baseline and 12 weeks, measures included anthropometrics, body composition, 3-day food diaries, blood pressure, total lipid profile, HOMA, C-reactive protein, and fasting blood glucose and insulin. Data were analyzed by repeated measures analysis of variance.

Results: All groups significantly reduced body weight and showed significant improvements in body composition (p<0.001), and components of metabolic syndrome (p<0.027 to 0.002), although HDL decreased (p<0.001). Dietary energy, %fat and %saturated fat decreased while protein intake increased significantly (p<0.001). There were no significant differences among the three groups in any variable related to body composition, dietary composition, or MetS components.

Conclusion: Different dietary approaches based on portion control, low energy density, or low glycemic index produced similar, significant short-term improvements in body composition, diet compositin, and MetS components in overweight and obese adults undergoing weekly weight loss meetings. This may allow for flexibility in options for dietary counseling based on patient preference.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose
  • Blood Pressure
  • Body Composition*
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Diet*
  • Energy Intake
  • Female
  • Glycemic Index
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / complications
  • Metabolic Syndrome / diet therapy*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / diet therapy*
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Overweight / complications
  • Overweight / diet therapy*
  • Overweight / physiopathology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Weight Loss
  • Young Adult


  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin
  • C-Reactive Protein