Baseline dietary patterns are a significant consideration in correcting dietary exposure for weight loss

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Dietary pattern studies are traditionally the domain of epidemiological research. From a clinical perspective, there is a need to explore the effects of changing food and dietary patterns of individuals. The aim was to identify patterns of food choice in the context of a clinical weight loss trial. Cluster analysis based on reported serves of food groups revealed dietary patterns informative for the clinical setting.


Cluster analysis was conducted using diet history data from two clinical trials at baseline, and outcomes at 3 months were reviewed based on these clusters (n = 231). The cluster solution was analysed using defined food groups in serves and with respect to clinical parameters and requirements for selected nutrients.


Two distinct dietary patterns were identified from the reported baseline dietary intakes. Subjects in Cluster 1 reported food patterns characterised by higher intakes of low-fat dairy and unsaturated oils and margarine and were generally more closely aligned to food choices encouraged in national dietary guidelines. Subjects in Cluster 2 reported a dietary pattern characterised by non-core foods and drinks, higher- and medium-fat dairy foods, fatty meats and alcohol. At 3 months, Cluster 2 subjects reported greater reductions in energy intake (−5317 kJ; P<0.001) and greater weight loss (−5.6 kg; P<0.05) compared with Cluster 1.


Overweight subjects with reported dietary patterns similar to dietary guidelines at baseline may have more difficulty in reducing energy intake than those with poor dietary patterns. Correcting exposure to non-core foods and drinks was key to successful weight loss.

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