Macronutrients and Body Fat Accumulation: A Mechanistic Feeding Study

Study Overview

This study will evaluate the effects of dietary carbohydrate and sugar consumption, independent of energy content, on body fatness and metabolism in a rigorous feeding study.

Study Description

Many people with obesity can lose weight for a few months, but most have difficulty maintaining weight loss over the long term. Extensive research has shown that weight loss elicits biological adaptations - including a decline in energy expenditure and an increase in hunger - that promote weight regain. However, this observation leaves unanswered why average body weight has recently increased among populations that are mostly genetically stable. According to the Carbohydrate-Insulin Model, increased consumption of processed carbohydrates during the low-fat diet era of the last 40 years has raised the average body weight being defended by biological mechanisms on a population basis. Specifically, the investigators hypothesize that diets high in total carbohydrate (with or without added sugar) acting through increased insulin secretion, alter substrate partitioning toward storage in body fat, leading to increased hunger, slowing metabolism, and accumulation of body fat.
To test this hypothesis, the investigators plan a randomized-controlled feeding study involving 125 adults with obesity. During the run-in phase, participants will be given a hypocaloric very-low-carbohydrate (VLC) diet, with adjustment of energy intake to produce 15 ? 3% weight loss over approximately 3 months on an outpatient basis. After weight stabilization, participants will be admitted to a residential center for 13 weeks. During the first 3 weeks, energy intake and expenditure will be closely monitored during weight-loss maintenance. Then, energy intake will be individually "locked" at levels equal to energy expenditure and participants will be administered one of three randomly-assigned test diets for 10 weeks. The test diets include VLC, High Carbohydrate-Low Sugar (HC-LS), and High Carbohydrate-High Sugar (HC-HS).

Additional Information

Participants will not be paid for their participation.


  • IRB Number: 1709474161
  • Research Study Identifier: TX9264
  • Principal Investigator: David Allison

Recruitment Status

Open

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