Purpose of review: In this review, we aimed to answer the question as to whether deliberate weight loss can reduce cardiovascular events or improve cardiovascular risk factors and whether different methods of weight loss can have a differential effect on risk factor improvement.
Recent findings: It would appear that deliberate weight loss reduces total mortality by 16% in obese people with risk factors including type 2 diabetes. People with type 2 diabetes who lose at least 10% of their initial body weight reduce CVD end points by 21% with dietary weight loss while the effect is greater with the greater weight loss induced by bariatric surgery with a 32% reduction in events. Mortality reduction may vary from 29 to up to 79%. Replacing some carbohydrate with protein appears to enhance weight maintenance over 12 months and in addition lowers serum triglyceride and blood pressure. A very-low-carbohydrate diet elevates LDL cholesterol when a high saturated fat "Atkins" style approach is used, but a high unsaturated fat version is safe and effective over a 12-month period and reduces medication requirements in people with type 2 diabetes. A very-low-calorie liquid diet produces excellent weight loss in the short-term, but long-term weight loss is no different to less restrictive dieting. Weight loss lowers CVD events and total mortality and a higher protein (18-25% of energy), lower carbohydrate (< 45% of energy) diet may be superior for weight maintenance and risk factor improvement, but there are no data on event reduction.
Keywords: Bariatric surgery; Carbohydrate; Cardiovascular disease; Dietary weight loss; Protein; Total mortality.