To investigate the contribution of novelty and simplicity to compliance with a low energy diet among obese outpatients.
Three arm randomised trial for 16 weeks.
NHS hospital obesity clinic.
45 patients aged over 17 years with a body mass index >27 who were not diabetic, pregnant, or lactating.
Conventional 3.4 MJ diet (control), isoenergetic novel diet of milk only, or milk plus one designated food daily. Follow up visit every 4 weeks.
Main outcome measure
Mean weight loss (kg) after 16 weeks on control, milk only, and milk plus diets was 1.7 (95% confidence interval −0.3 to 3.7), 9.4 (5.9 to 12.9), and 7.0 (2.7 to 11.3) respectively. Weight loss on the novel diets was significantly greater than on the control diet.
Dietary treatment can achieve as much weight loss in obese outpatients over 16 weeks as has been reported for the most successful drug treatment, but compliance with the prescribed diet is poor unless the diet is novel and simple.
- Energy reducing diets often work poorly in obese outpatients, although they are effective for inpatients
- In this study patients put on a milk only diet had significant weight loss
- Weight loss was comparable with that achieved by drugs
- Patients are more likely to respond to a simple diet which they have not tried before than to advice on conventional diets