Quality of Life Research

, 18:281 | Cite as

Effects of two weight-loss diets on health-related quality of life

  • William S. YancyJr.Email author
  • Daniel Almirall
  • Matthew L. Maciejewski
  • Ronette L. Kolotkin
  • Jennifer R. McDuffie
  • Eric C. Westman



To compare the effects of two diets on health-related quality of life (HRQOL).


Overweight volunteers (n = 119) were randomized to follow a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet (LCKD) or a low-fat diet (LFD) for 24 weeks. HRQOL was measured every 4 weeks using the Short Form-36 and analyzed using linear mixed-effects models.


The mean age was 45 years and mean baseline body mass index was 34 kg/m2; 76% were women. At 24 weeks, five subscales (Physical Functioning, Role-Physical, General Health, Vitality, Social Functioning) and the Physical Component Summary score improved similarly in both diet groups. Bodily Pain improved in the LFD group only, whereas the Role-Emotional and Mental Health subscales and the Mental Component Summary (MCS) score improved in the LCKD group only. In comparison with the LFD group, the LCKD group had a statistically significant greater improvement in MCS score (3.1; 95%CI 0.2–6.0; effect size = 0.44) and a borderline significant greater improvement in the Mental Health subscale (5.0; 95%CI −0.3–10.4; effect size = 0.37).


Mental aspects of HRQOL improved more in participants following an LCKD than an LFD, possibly resulting from the LCKD’s composition, lack of explicit energy restriction, higher levels of satiety or metabolic effects.


Diet therapy Ketones Mental health Quality of life 



Special thanks to Keith Tomlin, Bill Bryson, Juanita Hepburn, and Adele Hite for their assistance with data collection and entry. Funding for conducting the clinical trial was provided by the Robert C. Atkins Foundation, New York, NY. Dr. Yancy is supported by Health Services Research Career Development Award RCD 02-183-1 from the Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington, DC. This material is the result of work supported with resources and the use of facilities at the Durham VA Medical Center. The views expressed in this presentation are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Department of Veterans Affairs.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • William S. YancyJr.
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Daniel Almirall
    • 1
    • 3
  • Matthew L. Maciejewski
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  • Ronette L. Kolotkin
    • 5
    • 6
  • Jennifer R. McDuffie
    • 1
    • 2
  • Eric C. Westman
    • 2
  1. 1.Center for Health Services Research in Primary Care, Department of Veterans Affairs Medical CenterDurhamUSA
  2. 2.Department of MedicineDuke University Medical CenterDurhamUSA
  3. 3.Department of Biostatistics and BioinformaticsDuke University Medical CenterDurhamUSA
  4. 4.Division of Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy, School of PharmacyUniversity of North CarolinaChapel HillUSA
  5. 5.Obesity and Quality of Life ConsultingDurhamUSA
  6. 6.Department of Community and Family MedicineDuke University Medical CenterDurhamUSA

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