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Formula Diet Aids Weight Loss, Nutritional Gains in Obese

16-week program leads to improvements in bone density, vitamin D, B12 levels, and weight loss

THURSDAY, Jan. 5 (HealthDay News) -- A 16-week formula-based diet program significantly improves the nutritional status and bone health in obese patients with osteoarthritis, according to a study published online Dec. 21 in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Robin Christensen, Ph.D., from Copenhagen University Hospital at Frederiksberg, and colleagues conducted a prospective study using data from 192 obese patients (body mass index >30 kg/m²) with knee osteoarthritis (>50 years of age) enrolled in a weight-loss trial. Vitamin D, ferritin, vitamin B12, and body composition were measured at baseline and after 16 weeks. All followed an eight-week formula weight-loss diet (415 to 810 kcal per day), followed by eight weeks on a hypoenergetic 1,200 kcal per day diet with a combination of normal food and formula products.

The researchers found that, of the 192 enrollees, 175 patients (142 women) completed the 16-week program and had a significant body weight loss (14.0 kg) consisting of 1.8 kg of lean body mass (LBM) and 11.0 kg of fat mass. Bone mineral content (BMC) did not change, but bone mineral density (BMD) increased significantly (0.004 g/cm²). Plasma vitamin D and B12 increased significantly (by 15.3 nmol/L and 43.7 pmol/L, respectively). There was no change in plasma ferritin.

"This intensive program with formula diet resulted in increased BMD and improved vitamin D and B12 levels. Ferritin and BMC were unchanged and loss of LBM was only 13 percent of the total weight loss," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the company that develops, manufactures, and markets the formula diet used in the study.

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