Low-Calorie Diets: Benefits for Men and Women

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A low-calorie diet causes different metabolic effects in women than in men, a new Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism study suggests.

In the study of more than 2,000 overweight individuals with pre-diabetes who followed a low-calorie diet for 8 weeks, men lost significantly more body weight than women, and they had larger reductions in a metabolic syndrome score, a diabetes indicator, fat mass, and heart rate. Women had larger reductions in HDL-cholesterol, hip circumference, lean body mass (or fat free mass), and pulse pressure than men.

“Despite adjusting for the differences in weight loss, it appears that men benefited more from the intervention than women. Whether differences between genders persist in the long-term and whether we will need to design different interventions depending on gender will be interesting to follow,” said lead author Dr. Pia Christensen, of the University of Copenhagen, in Denmark. “However, the 8-week low-energy diet in individuals with pre-diabetes did result in the initial 10% weight loss needed to achieve major metabolic improvement in the first phase of a diabetes prevention program.”

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