Seems like our presumption that a calorie-reduction diet and an exercise regimen is the cure for all that ails us hit another snag recently. From the New York Times:
A large federal study of whether diet and weight loss can prevent heart attacks and strokes in overweight and obese people with Type 2 diabetes has ended two years ahead of schedule because the intensive program did not help.
The study group consisted of over 5,000 overweight type 2 diabetics, half of whom were given “general health information”, and half of whom were put on an intensive diet and exercise regime consisting of the following:
- 175 minutes or more of exercise a week (“moderate” intensity)
- Less than 1500 calories/day for those weighing under 250lbs
- Less than 1800 calories/day for those weighing over 250lbs
After 11 years, the two groups had the same amounts of heart attacks, strokes and cardiovascular events. This lack of difference prompted the researchers to call off the study.
Interestingly, as far as weight loss goes, after 11 years of reduced calorie dieting and exercise, participants lost 5% of their body weight. The authors don’t comment on the poor results here, but it seems to me that their weight loss regimen was also spectacularly underperforming.
Right now, the research data is not yet available. Until it is, the announcement that the study is cancelled is proving fertile ground for speculation.
- Diabetes Study Ends Early With a Surprising Result, Gina Kolata, October 19, 2012, New York Times.