BACKGROUND: Relatively little is known about dietary changes and their relationships with weight change during behavioural weight loss interventions. In a secondary analysis of data from a multicentre RCT, we investigated whether greater improvements in diet would be achieved by overweight adults following a 12 month group-based commercial weight loss programme (CP) than those receiving standard care (SC) in primary practice, and if these dietary changes were associated with greater weight loss.
METHODS: Adults with a BMI 27-35 kg/m2 and >1 risk factor for obesity-related disorders were recruited in study centres in Australia and the UK during 2007-2008. Dietary intake and body weight were measured at baseline, 6 and 12 months. Linear mixed effects models compared mean changes in dietary macronutrient intake, fibre density and energy density over time between groups, and their relationships with weight loss.
RESULTS: The CP group demonstrated greater mean weight loss than the SC group at 6 months (3.3 kg, 95% CI: 2.2, 4.4) and 12 months (3.3 kg, 95% CI: 2.1, 4.5). Diet quality improved in both intervention groups at 6 and 12 months. However, the CP group (n = 228) achieved significantly greater mean reductions in energy intake (mean difference; 95% CI: - 503 kJ/d; - 913, - 93), dietary energy density (- 0.48 MJ/g; - 0.81, - 0.16), total fat (- 6.9 g/d; - 11.9, - 1.8), saturated fat (- 3.3 g/d; - 5.4, - 1.1), and significantly greater mean increases in fibre density (0.30 g/MJ; 0.15, 0.44) at 6 months than the SC group (n = 239). Similar differences persisted at 12 months and the CP group showed greater mean increases in protein density (0.65 g/MJ). In both groups, weight loss was associated with increased fibre density (0.68 kg per g/MJ, 95% CI: 0.08, 1.27) and protein density (0.26 kg per g/MJ, 95% CI: 0.10, 0.41).
CONCLUSIONS: Following a group-based commercial program led to greater improvements in diet quality than standard care. Increases in dietary protein and fibre density were independently associated with weight loss in both behavioural weight loss interventions. Greater increases in protein and fibre density in the commercial program likely contributed to their greater weight loss.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN: ISRCTN85485463 Registered 03/08/2007 Retrospectively Registered.