Want to shed weight fast? Participants needed for ‘severe diet’ trial

In the name of science, weight loss experts from the University of Western Australia issued a call to 288 people who are willing to “lose weight quickly”.

Professor Amanda Salis, from UWA's Faculty of Human Sciences, said medically supervised meal replacement diets had been shown in clinical studies to induce rapid weight loss.

Prof Salis said: “People may be surprised to hear that the best diet for weight loss and body fat is a strict diet, which is achieved by replacing all regular meals and snacks with nutrient-dense meal replacement products such as shakes.”

“They can lead to weight loss of around 1 to 3kg per week and 14 to 38kg in six to 12 weeks.”

Professor Salis said studies have shown that strict diets lead to significantly greater loss of body weight and body fat than moderate diets, both in the short and long term.

“My clinical weight loss trial compared people who followed a strict diet for 16 weeks with people who followed a moderate diet based on healthy foods,” she said.

A fork on a blue background with a tape measure around it

“We found that three years after starting the diet, volunteers who were asked to follow a strict diet had 1.5 to 1.7 times less body weight, waist circumference, body fat and visceral adipose tissue than volunteers who had been given a moderate diet. “

Prof Salis said that although strict dieting was superior to moderate dieting in terms of weight and body fat loss in the short and long term, the weight and body fat regain remained.

“While the volunteers lost an average of 17.4kg after 16 weeks on the strict diet, they regained an average of 9.4kg or 54% of their weight loss after three years, so there is certainly room for improvement when it comes to strict dieting,” she said.

To find better ways to help people maintain weight and fat after strict diets, Professor Salis is running a new clinical trial at UWA, funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council and supported by the University's Human Research Ethics Committee approval.

The TANGO Diet Trial will compare two weight loss programs involving strict diets, both of which will be run over a year for up to 16 weeks. These programs are expected to be equally effective for weight loss in the short term, but it's unclear whether one of the two is more effective in the long term.

Volunteers must be between the ages of 18 and 70, have a body mass index (BMI) of 27 kg/m2 or above (you can view your BMI here) and reside in the Perth metropolitan area.

If you are interested in volunteering please email tango.team@uwa.edu.au or visit this webpage for more information.

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