Very low-fat (12%) and high monounsaturated fat (35%) diets do not differentially affect abdominal fat loss in overweight, nondiabetic women

Peter M. Clifton, Manny Noakes, Jennifer B. Keogh

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26 Citations (Scopus)


Studies in women with type 2 diabetes demonstrated adverse effects on body fat distribution of a low-fat diet relative to a high monounsaturated fat diet. We performed a randomized 12-wk parallel design study of two 6000-kJ diets: 35% energy from fat (high monounsaturated fat diet, HIMO), or 12% energy from fat (very low-fat diet, VLF) to determine whether this also occurred in nondiabetic women. Body fat distribution, fasting plasma glucose, blood pressure, and fasting serum lipids were measured at wk 0 and 12 in 62 women (BMI > 27 kg/m2). Weight loss (9.5 ± 2.4 vs. 9.4 ± 3.4 kg, VLF vs. HIMO) and total fat loss (6.1 ± 2.4 vs. 6.3 ± 2.7 kg, VLF vs. HIMO) did not differ in the groups. There was a diet x menopausal status interaction in lean mass changes (P = 0.005) such that in premenopausal women, HIMO produced a lower loss of lean mass than the low-fat diet (0.4 ± 2.3 vs. 2.9 ± 2.7 kg, P = 0.006) with the opposite but nonsignificant effect seen in postmenopausal women. There was a greater decrease in total plasma cholesterol in women who consumed VLF compared with those who consumed HIMO (0.82 ± 0.0.51 vs. 0.50 ± 0.48 mmol/L, P < 0.001 for time, P < 0.05 for diet effect). This was also true for the change in HDL cholesterol (0.18 ± 0.23 vs. 0.04 ± 0.19 mmol/L, VLF and HIMO, respectively, P < 0.001 for time, P < 0.05 for diet effect). The LDL/HDL ratio was reduced in both groups with no effect of diet (0.16 ± 0.51 vs. 0.16 ± 0.45, VLF and HIMO, respectively, P < 0.05). In conclusion, weight, total fat mass, and regional fat mass loss did not differ in the 2 groups of women but there was an apparent preservation of lean mass in premenopausal women consuming HIMO.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1741-1745
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Jul 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Fat mass lean mass
  • Monounsaturated fat
  • Weight loss

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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