Unprocessed red meat in the dietary treatment of obesity: a randomized controlled trial of beef supplementation during weight maintenance after successful weight loss

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Background: Consumption of unprocessed red meat in randomized trials has no adverse effects on cardiovascular risk factors and body weight, but its physiological effects during weight loss maintenance are not known.

Objectives: We sought to investigate the effects of healthy diets that include small or large amounts of red meat on the maintenance of lost weight after successful weight loss, and secondarily on body composition (DXA), resting energy expenditure (REE; indirect calorimetry), and cardiometabolic risk factors.

Methods: In this 5-mo parallel randomized intervention trial, 108 adults with BMI 28-40 kg/m2 (45 males/63 females) underwent an 8-wk rapid weight loss period, and those who lost ≥8% body weight (n = 80) continued to ad libitum weight maintenance diets for 12 wk: a moderate-protein diet with 25 g beef/d (B25, n = 45) or a high-protein diet with 150 g beef/d (B150, n = 35).

Results: In per protocol analysis (n = 69), mean body weight (-1.2 kg; 95% CI: -2.1, -0.3 kg), mean fat mass (-2.7 kg; 95% CI: -3.4, -2.0 kg), and mean body fat content (-2.6%; 95% CI: -3.1, -2.1%) decreased during the maintenance phase, whereas mean lean mass (1.5 kg; 95% CI: 1.0, 2.0 kg) and mean REE (51 kcal/d; 95% CI: 15, 86 kcal/d) increased, with no differences between groups (all P > 0.05). Results were similar in intention-to-treat analysis with multiple imputation for dropouts (20 from B150 compared with 19 from B25, P = 0.929). Changes in cardiometabolic risk factors were not different between groups, the general pattern being a decrease during weight loss and a return to baseline during weight maintenance (and despite the additional mild reduction in weight and fat mass).

Conclusions: Healthy diets consumed ad libitum that contain a little or a lot of unprocessed beef have similar effects on body weight, energy metabolism, and cardiovascular risk factors during the first 3 mo after clinically significant rapid weight loss.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)1820-1830
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2022. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Society for Nutrition.

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Science - Overweight, Weight loss, Meat intake, Red meat, Body composition, Cardiovascular risk, Prediabetes

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