Obesity treatment by very low-calorie-ketogenic diet at two years: reduction in visceral fat and on the burden of disease

Endocrine. 2016 Dec;54(3):681-690. doi: 10.1007/s12020-016-1050-2. Epub 2016 Sep 13.


The long-term effect of therapeutic diets in obesity treatment is a challenge at present. The current study aimed to evaluate the long-term effect of a very low-calorie-ketogenic (VLCK) diet on excess adiposity. Especial focus was set on visceral fat mass, and the impact on the individual burden of disease. A group of obese patients (n = 45) were randomly allocated in two groups: either the very low-calorie-ketogenic diet group (n = 22), or a standard low-calorie diet group; (n = 23). Both groups received external support. Adiposity parameters and the cumulative number of months of successful weight loss (5 or 10 %) over a 24-month period were quantified. The very low-calorie-ketogenic diet induced less than 2 months of mild ketosis and significant effects on body weight at 6, 12, and 24 months. At 24 months, a trend to regress to baseline levels was observed; however, the very low-calorie-ketogenic diet induced a greater reduction in body weight (-12.5 kg), waist circumference (-11.6 cm), and body fat mass (-8.8 kg) than the low-calorie diet (-4.4 kg, -4.1 cm, and -3.8 kg, respectively; p < 0.001). Interestingly, a selective reduction in visceral fat measured by a specific software of dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA)-scan (-600 g vs. -202 g; p < 0.001) was observed. Moreover, the very low-calorie-ketogenic diet group experienced a reduction in the individual burden of obesity because reduction in disease duration. Very low-calorie-ketogenic diet patients were 500 months with 5 % weight lost vs. the low-calorie diet group (350 months; p < 0.001). In conclusion, a very low-calorie-ketogenic diet was effective 24 months later, with a decrease in visceral adipose tissue and a reduction in the individual burden of disease.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Adiposity*
  • Adult
  • Diet, Ketogenic*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intra-Abdominal Fat / diagnostic imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / diet therapy*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult