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LCD Research

Substituting two daily meals of an energy restricted diet with meal replacements contributes to weight loss

Substituting one of the main daily meals of an energy restricted diet with a meal replacement contributes to the maintenance of weight after weight loss.

The strength of evidence for the effectiveness of meal-replacement low-calorie diets, such as the LighterLife Lite plan, is shown by the fact that they can make the above EFSA-approved health claims – that they are effective for weight loss and with maintaining weight loss.

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Formula food-reducing diets: a new evidence-based addition to the weight management tool box.
Leeds AR (2014). The Nutrition Bulletin, 39:238-246.

‘Formula diet weight loss programmes [very low-calorie diets (VLCDs) (400- 800 kcal/day) and low-calorie diets (LCDs) (800-1200 kcal/day)] can deliver weight loss at rates of 1-2 kg/week. This rate of weight loss can result in 10-20 kg weight loss in 8-12 weeks. Formula diet programmes can result in weight loss, reduction of liver volume and reduction of visceral fat before bariatric surgery; weight loss before knee joint replacement surgery has also been shown. Rapid initial weight loss can result in rapid symptom improvement, such as reduced joint pain in osteoarthritis, improved sleep quality in obstructive sleep apnoea, reduced shortness of breath on exertion, reduced peripheral oedema and rapid improvement in metabolic control in diabetes, all changes that are highly motivating and conducive towards compliance. Rapid initial weight loss was feared to be followed by rapid weight regain. However, provided initial weight loss is delivered in parallel with an intense education programme about nutrition, cooking, shopping and lifestyle for long-term maintenance, and where long-term support is provided, subsequent weight maintenance after VLCDs and LCDs has been shown to be possible. A recent literature review identified high-protein diets, obesity drugs and partial use of formula meal replacements as methods which can result in statistically significantly greater weight maintenance after initial weight loss with VLCDs or LCDs.’

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Multicenter evaluation of an interdisciplinary 52-week weight loss program for obesity with regard to body weight, comorbidities and quality of life – a prospective study.
Bischoff SC et al (2012). International Journal of Obesity, 36(4):614-24.

The objectives of this prospective, multicentre, observational study were to determine the effectiveness of a structured, multidisciplinary, non-surgical obesity therapy program on the basis of a temporary low-calorie (800kcal/day total food replacement) diet for 12 weeks, and additional intervention modules to enhance nutritional education, to increase physical activity and to modify eating behaviour in 8296 obese individuals undergoing a medically supervised outpatient-based 52-week treatment in 37 centres in Germany. In females, initial body weight was reduced after the 1-year-intervention by 19.6kg and in males by 26kg.Overall, the intervention resulted in mean reduction in waist circumference of 11 cm, reduction in the prevalence of metabolic syndrome by 50% and in the frequency of hypertension from 47% to 29% of all participants. The beneficial effects could be documented for up to 3 years and comprised significant improvement of health-related quality of life. The incidence of adverse effects was low. The authors concluded that this program was a highly effective treatment of obesity grades I-III and obesity-related diseases, and therefore, could be a valuable basis for future weight maintenance strategies required for sustained success.

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Efficacy of a meal replacement diet plan compared to a food-based diet plan after a period of weight loss and weight maintenance: a randomized controlled trial.

Davis LM, Coleman C, Kiel J, Rampolla J, Hutchisen T, Ford L, Wayne S, Andersen WS, Hanlon-Mitola A (2010). Nutrition Journal, March, 11(9):11.

‘Our data suggest that the meal replacement diet plan evaluated was an effective strategy for producing robust initial weight loss and for achieving improvements in a number of health-related parameters during weight maintenance, including inflammation and oxidative stress, two key factors more recently shown to underlie our most common chronic diseases.’

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Ready-to-eat cereal products as meal replacements for weight loss.

Wal JS et al (2009). International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, 58(5):331-340.

‘Three factors that impede successful weight control are ignorance of portion sizes, frequency of eating, and over-consumption of energy dense foods. Indeed, people tend to underestimate the caloric content of foods by as much as 50%. Partial meal replacement programs address these factors via the use of portion-controlled meal replacements and the use of specific meal plans.’

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Meal replacement with a low-calorie diet formula in weight loss maintenance after weight loss induction with diet alone.
Vázquez C et al (2009). European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 63(10):1226-32.

This randomised, paralleled clinical trial aimed to evaluate the efficacy of substituting a low-calorie formula-meal replacement for a meal. 62 adult patients who had lost at least 5% of their weight were randomised to two groups: daily replacement of one meal with a low-calorie diet formula, or dieting alone for another 6 months (weight-maintenance phase). Weight maintenance or further weight loss occurred in 83.9% of patients in the intervention group, but only in 58.1% of the control group (p=0.025), suggesting that substitution of a low-calorie diet formula for a meal is effective for weight-loss maintenance compared with dieting alone.

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Effect of meal replacement on metabolic risk factors in overweight and obese subjects.
König D, Deibert P, Frey I, Landmann U, Berg A (2008). Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, 52(1):74-8.

Data from this randomised controlled clinical trial suggest that ‘even over a short period of time, a meal-replacement diet is more effective in reducing metabolic risk factors, insulin and leptin, and in improving anthropometric measures than a fat-restricted low-calorie diet’.

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Efficacy of meal replacements versus a standard food-based diet for weight loss in type 2 diabetes: a controlled clinical trial.
Cheskin LJ et al (2008). The Diabetes Educator, Jan-Feb, 34(1):118-27
In a study comparing weight loss from meal replacements versus standard food in type 2 diabetics, those on meal replacements experienced greater initial weight loss and less weight gain after one year of maintenance, compared to those on a standard, self-selected, food-based diet. The meal-replacement group had significantly improved weight loss after 8½ months and were 6½ times more likely to lose 10% of their initial body weight at the end of the active weight-loss phase.

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Nutrient adequacy during weight loss interventions: a randomized study in women comparing the dietary intake in a meal replacement group with a traditional food group.

Ashley JM et al (2007). Nutrition Journal, 6:12

‘The group incorporating fortified meal replacements tended to have a more adequate essential nutrient intake compared to the group following a more traditional food-group diet. This study supports the need to incorporate fortified foods and/or dietary supplements while following an energy-restricted diet for weight loss.’

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Weight management using a meal replacement strategy: meta and pooling analysis from six studies.

Heymsfield S et al (2003). International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders, 27(5):537-549.

Meal replacements result in a greater weight loss than observed in traditional reduced-calorie diets: approximately 7-8% compared with 3-7% at one year. They are a safe, effective alternative to promote sustained weight loss and parallel health benefits.

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Metabolic and weight loss effects of a long-term dietary intervention in obese patients.

Ditschuneit HH et al (1999). American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 69(2):198-204.

Subjects on a meal-replacement diet lost significantly more weight than those on self-selected conventional food diets with comparable macronutrient make-up.‘These findings support the hypothesis that defined meal replacements can be used for successful, long-term weight control and improvements in certain biomarkers of disease risk.’

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