A Clinical Study commissioned by Diet Chef has revealed results that suggest people who go on a diet are at least 3 times more likely to be successful if the diet is portion controlled and home delivered (as in the Diet Chef delivery service) than if they devise their own diet regime.
There are numerous commercial weight loss management programmes available in the UK, but only the Weight Watchers programme has a significant evidence base to support effectiveness⁴. ’This new study, undertaken by HONEI, a specialist unit at the University of Hull, clinically assessed the effectiveness of the Diet Chef programme to determine whether the Diet Chef meal provision service was more effective for weight loss than a traditional, DIY weight loss programme.
The study used a randomised design with participants divided into two groups, either following 12 weeks on a Diet Chef plan or a self-devised diet based on dietary advice from a commonly available text based literature tool typically used by health practitioners. The possibility of a 12 week extension to the study was also offered at randomisation where participants could cross over to the other arm of the study or choose to continue on the same arm.
- 61% of participants lost > 5% of total body weight at 12 weeks on the Diet Chef arm compared to 22% in the control group.
- Only 7% of Diet Chef participants withdrew from the study during the initial 12 weeks compared to 41% in the control group. Literature reports⁵ indicate generally between 50-70% of individuals drop out of weight management programmes over 12 weeks therefore suggesting a Diet Chef regime is more easily tolerated and simpler to follow than a self devised diet.
- During the second 12 week phase of the trial, results showed continued weight loss with Diet Chef both from those continuing from the first Diet Chef phase as well as those switching from the control group to Diet Chef. 47% of participants achieved >10% weight loss and they were those who were on the Diet Chef arm for 24 weeks. See chart below. The continued weight loss stopped for those switching from Diet Chef to the self-directed arm.
- Results may also indicate that once individuals complete a 12 week period of Diet Chef they are able to sustain that weight loss by their own means.
Given current concerns in the medical establishment² and Government over the epidemic of obesity in the UK, and its impact on the current and future health of the general public³, there is a growing campaign to generate awareness of this issue and devise measures to tackle it.
Healthcare Professionals, particularly in primary care, are increasingly at the forefront of the campaign to increase awareness and educate patients generally about the health problems associated with weight gain³, such as risk of heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers and to offer advice on diet and fitness. This new study provides them with reliable clinical evidence about an easy to follow and inexpensive diet regime which may help their patients lose weight.
Commenting on the outcomes of the study, Duane Mellor, Senior Lecturer – Nutrition and Dietetics, at the University of Chester, and former Research Dietician at the Humber Obesity, Nutrition, Education and Innovation Centre (HONEI), University of Hull, said: “60% of participants in the study lost at least 5% of their initial body weight in the first 12 weeks, which is a significant amount of body weight. If this weight loss is maintained, then this will offer them significant health benefits. The trial appeared to be extremely well tolerated with minimal drop outs; this is unusual for a weight loss study and suggests a good level of acceptability of the Diet Chef regime.”
The Humber Obesity, Nutrition, Education and Innovation (HONEI) Centre undertakes national and international scientific research and clinical trials in food and its properties in both health and disease, particularly in obesity, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
There are a wide variety of diets and diet plans around, but hardly any have actually been clinically tried and tested to prove they not only work, but can help people sustain their weight loss. This trial was commissioned by Diet Chef and designed by HONEI to evaluate the effectiveness of the Diet Chef replacement meal provision.
Diet Chef is widely acceptable due to its ease of use, and by helping dieters get used to eating smaller portions, it delivers the key essential element of helping them maintain their weight loss in the long term. This study will be of interest to health professionals such as practice nurses and GPs who are in the front line in dealing with the medical repercussions of the growing obesity epidemic in this country. Having a clinically proven diet regime which is so simple to follow suggests patients would find it helpful as part of a structured weight loss programme.
Lola from Hull was one of the participants in the clinical study and was on the diet for 6 months. “Diet Chef has greatly improved my quality of life. I have lost over 2 stone on the diet plan through the easy portion control and now, having got used to eating smaller meals, it has made it easier for me to keep the weight off. Having previously tried diets without much success, I have been so pleased with the results of Diet Chef and would recommend it to all my friends. I can now go shopping and be confident that I look good! I feel so much healthier and am looking forward to a great 2012 and it is no longer a workout to do my shoelaces up!”
1. The Effectiveness of Meal Provision (Diet Chef) Compared to Self Directed Dieting Behaviour. Atkin, Mellor et al, Hull, UK (2011). Data on file at Diet Chef.
2. NICE, Clinical Guidance 43 (2006): Obesity, NICE, London, UK
SIGN 2010 Management of Obesity: A national Clinical Guideline. Edinburgh UK
3. Nishida et al 2004; The Joint WHO/FAO Expert Consultation on Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases: Process, Product and Policy Implications. Public Health Nutrition. 7(1a): p.245-250
4. Forsight (2007) Tackling Obesities: Future Choices – Project Report, Government Office for Science, London, UK.
5. Heshka et al (2003). Weight Loss with Self-Help Compared with a Structured Commercial Program: a Randomized Trial JAMA 289:1792-1798