Weight loss and ethnicity: a cohort study of the effects induced by a very low calorie diet.
Van Gaal, Luc F.
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Background: We aimed to determine whether British Asians of Indian or Pakistani descent differed in their baseline characteristics and in response to a 12 week very low calorie diet (VLCD). We then assessed if changes in weight and waist circumference in response to a VLCD differs between Asians and Caucasians. Methods: Weight loss was achieved using a nutritionally complete (energy deficient), very-low-calorie diet (VLCD) with an average daily intake of 550kcal (50g protein,50g carbohydrate, mean 17g fats and ≥100% recommended daily allowances (RDA) for key vitamins and minerals), alongside a unique behaviour change programme (LighterLife –LL). Data from Asians recruited onto LL total in 2009/2010 for whom 12 week weight change information were available were analysed. Waist circumference data were available for a subset of Asians. These were age, body mass index, and gender matched to a Caucasian population and compared by independent t-test. Results: No differences were observed between the Indian and Pakistani group for baseline measurements or weight change at 12 weeks. Caucasians had a greater percent excess body weight loss (%EBWL) than Asians at 12 weeks (72.4 ± 22.1 vs 48.9 ± 18.0, p <0.0001). However, Asians had a greater waist circumference reduction per kilogram of weight loss when compared to Caucasians (1.16 ± 0.7 vs 0.95 ± 0.3, p = 0.037). Conclusions: It appears that despite a greater %EBWL for Caucasians, Asians had a greater waist circumference reduction per kilogram of weight loss using a VLCD approach for a 12 week period.