Foods, nutrients or whole diets: effects of targeting fish and LCn3PUFA consumption in a 12mo weight loss trial

BMC Public Health. 2013 Dec 26:13:1231. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-13-1231.


Background: There is some evidence in the literature that emphasising fish consumption may assist with weight loss. The aim was to assess the effects of advice to consume 2 fish meals per week in a weight loss diet.

Methods: A parallel randomised placebo-controlled trial was conducted in 118 obese Australian adults (mean BMI ± SD 31.3 ± 3.5 kg/m2; mean age ± SD 45 ± 10 y; 28% male). Participants received low calorie dietary advice+placebo (1 g olive oil; CONTROL), low calorie dietary advice emphasising fish+placebo (Fish), or low calorie dietary advice emphasising fish diet + LCn3PUFA supplements (Fish+S). Individualised advice targeted 2 MJ energy deficit (30%E fat, 45%E carbohydrate and 25%E protein) with or without two servings (180 g) fatty fish/wk.

Results: All groups lost weight at 12 months (CONTROL -4.5 kg vs. Fish -4.3 kg vs. Fish+S -3.3 kg; p<0.001) and percentage body fat (

Control: -1.5% vs. Fish: -1.4% vs. Fish+S: -0.7%; p<0.001) but there were no significant differences between groups. Cardiovascular disease risk factors changed as expected from weight loss.

Conclusions: Advice to consume 2 fish meals per week did not enhance the effects on weight loss of a healthy low calorie diet.

Trial registration: ACTRN12608000425392.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Australia
  • Diet, Reducing / methods*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / administration & dosage*
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Fishes*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / diet therapy*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Loss


  • Docosahexaenoic Acids
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid