Enhancing treatment of obesity by using a distracting mini-meal: a new approach to an old problem

Hormones (Athens). Jan-Mar 2013;12(1):101-10. doi: 10.1007/BF03401291.


Objective: The management of obesity, apart from exercise, mainly involves a calorie restriction regimen. A pharmaceutical treatment is often used to improve patient compliance and diet effectiveness, although several side-effects have previously been described. To improve patient compliance and diet effectiveness without incurring unpleasant side-effects, we evaluated whether a distracting mini-meal can physiologically decrease the absorption of fats and carbohydrates.

Design: Two minutes before each of the three meals consumed daily, 32 obese patients were treated with a distracting mini-meal, 32 with metformin, and 32 with placebo. At baseline and after 1, 3, and 6 months of treatment, body weight, body mass index, waist circumference, fasting/post-prandial insulinaemia and glycaemia, homeostasis model assessment-index, triacylglycerols, and total cholesterol were evaluated.

Results: All patients showed good compliance. With the exception of post-prandial glycaemia, a significant reduction in all parameters was documented in every group, albeit the greater variation was observed in patients treated with a distracting mini-meal or metformin. No one showed noteworthy side-effects.

Conclusions: Our study focuses on a distracting mini-meal that could become a useful tool in enhancing weight loss. The beneficial effect of a distracting meal on insulin resistance, glucose, and lipid metabolism suggest its possible use to prevent or mitigate obesity-related disorders.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anti-Obesity Agents / therapeutic use
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Body Mass Index
  • Caloric Restriction*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / blood
  • Dietary Fats / blood
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Absorption
  • Male
  • Metformin / therapeutic use*
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / blood
  • Obesity / diagnosis
  • Obesity / diet therapy*
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Obesity / psychology
  • Patient Compliance
  • Postprandial Period
  • Rome
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Waist Circumference
  • Weight Loss*
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-Obesity Agents
  • Biomarkers
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fats
  • Metformin