Very-low-energy diet helps obese women get pregnant faster

23 Nov 2020
Very-low-energy diet helps obese women get pregnant faster

A very-low-energy diet (VLED) programme yields substantial weight loss in women with obesity and leads to faster conception compared with a standard dietary intervention (SDI), according to a study.

The analysis included 164 normoglycaemic women (mean age, 32 years) with body mass index 30–55 kg/m2 who were planning pregnancy. They were randomly assigned to a 12-week SDI (n=79) or modified VLED (n=85). Those who completed the intervention were followed for up to 48 weeks to record the time of pregnancy.

Women in the SDI group were instructed to eat an energy-reduced diet, specifically a diet containing 500 calories less than their current intake, and with a macronutrient composition consistent with the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating. On the other hand, those in the VLED group were instructed to eat two daily meals of a VLED formulation and a third meal consisting of two cups of low-starch vegetables, 150 g lean meat, and two teaspoons of oil. All women were asked to log >10,000 steps per day on their pedometer.

At the end of the intervention, the VLED group lost significantly more weight than the SDI group (–11.9 percent vs –3.1 percent; p<0.01). Weight regain between week 12 and either pregnancy or week 60 was comparable between the two groups (3.2 percent vs 2.9 percent, respectively; p=0.30).

Among the women who completed the 12-week intervention, time to pregnancy was significantly shorter in the VLED group than in the SDI group (median, 51.0 days vs 140.5 days; p=0.03). The pregnancy rate was also significantly higher in the VLED group (59 percent vs 41 percent; p=0.03).

The present data may have important implications for women with obesity who are planning pregnancy.

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