Comparison of two low-calorie diets: A prospective study of effectiveness and safety
O. Moreno, A. Meoro, A. Martinez, C. Rodriguez, C. Pardo, S. Aznar, P. Lopez, J. Serrano, E. Boix, M.D. Martin, and A.M. Pico Alfonso
Endocrinology and Nutrition Section, Alicante General University Hospital, Alicante, Spain

Objective: To evaluate the cost-effectiveness and safety of two distinct low calorie diets (LCD). Design: Prospective controlled study. Methods: 67 obese patients [body mass index (BMI) 40 kg/m2] were included in two study groups. Group A: 26 patients followed a 458 kcal diet given in three meals for 1 month. Group B: 41 patients followed a 800 kcal diet for 3 months and with outpatient control. Measurements: Anthropometric, cardiovascular risk and nutritional profile changes were evaluated, as well as total direct and indirect costs, and the incidence of complications. Results: No significant initial differences were observed between the two study groups. Eighty-six point two per cent of the patients completed the therapy correctly. After treatment a significant decrease was observed in the following variables for both groups, but no differences were detected between Groups A and B: mean weight loss (A= 9.28 kg, B= 8.7 kg), ponderal loss percentage (A/B= 7.2/6.8%), glycemia (A/B= 18.6/12.1 mg/dl), systolic blood pressure (SBP) (A/B= 11.8/6.5 mmHg), diastolic blood pressure (DBP) (A/B 5.9/6.8 mmHg), and final insulin-resistance (IR) index (A= 4.4, B= 4.3). Group A had the highest drop in total cholesterol (37.7 vs 8.1 mg/dl) and triglycerides (54.4 vs 2.5 mg/dl). No changes were observed in ureic acid, renal function and serum albumin. Thirty-six patients (55.3%) suffered trivial complications associated to the VLCD (16.9% gastrointestinal, 20% anxiety), with no differences between groups. Group A patients were on sick leave due to asthenia, and two patients in this group had serious complications (transient ischemic attack and atrial fibrillation). The total cost of Group A treatment was 3018.9 against 582.6 euros for Group B. Conclusions: The 3-month 800 kcal/day VLCD was more cost-effective and safer than the 1-month 458 kcal/day diet. (J. Endocrinol. Invest. 29: 633-640, 2006) ©2006, Editrice Kurtis

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