06/25/2009 - News

Proof of a No-Brainer: You'll Lose More Weight if You Eat Fewer Calories

By: June Chen, MD


A study published in the February 26, 2009 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine reiterates an obvious, but important, observation about weight loss - people lose weight if they consume fewer calories . And, it doesn't really matter whether those calories come from carbohydrates, fat, or protein.

 Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School and their colleagues randomly assigned 811 overweight adults to one of four diets. All four of the diets met guidelines for cardiovascular health, but varied in their relative content of carbohydrates, fat, and protein. The study participants were also offered group and individual instructional sessions for 2 years. At 6 months, participants assigned to each diet had lost approximately 7% of their original weight. After 12 months, the study participants began to regain weight. By 2 years, weight loss was similar remained similar across all participants, regardless of the diet to which they were assigned.

From this study, the researchers concluded that clinically meaningful weight loss is achieved from a reduced-calorie diet, regardless of the specific content of the diet. They also found that satisfaction with the diet was similar for all study groups. Still, it's important to remember that, in order to be considered healthy, any diet needs to be balanced.


NEJM 2009;360:859-873.

Created on: 03/04/2009
Reviewed on: 06/25/2009

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