June 25, 2007 / 8:37 PM / in 11 years

Portion control dishes aid weight loss: study

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Commercially available portion control plates and bowls can help obese individuals with type 2 diabetes lose weight and reduce their need for blood sugar-controlling medications, according to a Canadian study published today.

Most cases of type 2 diabetes are directly related to obesity, note investigators, and the obesity epidemic is paralleled by increasing portion sizes in the marketplace.

In a study of 130 obese type 2 diabetic adults, Dr. Sue D. Pedersen and colleagues from University of Calgary, Alberta, randomly assigned roughly half of the subjects to use a portion-control dinner plate and a portion-control breakfast bowl for six months. The other half, serving as a control group, received usual care, which consisted of dietary assessment and counseling.

The portion control dinner plate used in the study has clearly marked sections for carbohydrates, proteins, cheese and sauce, and vegetables and provides roughly an 800-calorie meal for a man and a 650-calorie meal for a woman. The cereal bowl provides a 200-calorie meal of cereal and milk.

Pedersen’s team found, based on 122 subjects completing the study, that those using portion-control dishes lost an average of 2.1 kg (5.6 lbs), or 1.8 percent of their body weight - significantly more than control subjects who shed an average of just 0.1 kg (0.27 lbs), or 0.1 percent of their body weight.

Moreover, a significantly greater proportion of subjects using portion-control dishes achieved at least 5-percent weight loss (16.9 percent versus 4.6 percent for controls). “This is important,” the authors note, because this level of weight loss has been shown to significantly decrease illness and death associated with obesity-linked disorders such as cancer and heart attack.

The weight loss achieved with portion control dishes is comparable to that achieved with drug therapy for weight loss in type 2 diabetic patients.

In addition, after six months, 26.2 percent of subjects using portion control dishes were able to decrease their need for diabetes medications compared with only 10.8 percent of control subjects.

The authors conclude that portion control dishes “hold promise for use in overweight populations with and without diabetes.”

SOURCE: Archives of Internal Medicine June 25, 2007.

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