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A low-calorie diet causes different metabolic effects in women than in men, a new Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism study suggests.

In the study of more than 2,000 with pre-diabetes who followed a low-calorie diet for 8 weeks, men lost significantly more body weight than , and they had larger reductions in a metabolic syndrome score, a diabetes indicator, fat mass, and heart rate. Women had larger reductions in HDL-cholesterol, , lean body mass (or fat free mass), and pulse pressure than men.

"Despite adjusting for the differences in , it appears that men benefitted more from the intervention than women. Whether differences between genders persist in the long-term and whether we will need to design different interventions depending on gender will be interesting to follow," said lead author Dr. Pia Christensen, of the University of Copenhagen, in Denmark.

"However, the 8-week low-energy diet in individuals with pre-diabetes did result in the initial 10% weight loss needed to achieve major metabolic improvement in the first phase of a diabetes prevention programme."

More information: Pia Christensen et al, Men and women respond differently to rapid weight loss: Metabolic outcomes of a multi-centre intervention study after a low-energy diet in 2500 overweight, individuals with pre-diabetes (PREVIEW), Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism (2018). DOI: 10.1111/dom.13466

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