WEDNESDAY, Dec. 21 (HealthDay News) -- A diet consisting of
eight weeks of protein shakes and soup followed by adding
low-calorie, high-protein foods can help people with knee
osteoarthritis lose weight, which may lessen joint pain and improve
their quality of life, a new study finds.
This diet might also help people whose obesity makes it
impossible to exercise, the researchers added.
"Obese individuals with knee osteoarthritis should be urged to lose weight," said lead researcher Robin Christensen, head of the Musculoskeletal Statistics Unit at The Parker Institute at Copenhagen University Hospital at Frederiksberg in Denmark.
Samantha Heller, a dietitian and clinical nutrition coordinator
at the Center for Cancer Care at Griffin Hospital in Derby, Conn.,
said that "the question this study brings up is whether the
participants can maintain the weight loss they achieved on a
formula-based, very low-calorie, supervised diet, in real life,
with real food."
For the study, Christensen's team followed 175 obese people
suffering from knee osteoarthritis. During the first eight weeks,
the participants had only the formula diet, called the Cambridge
Weight Plan, which includes soups and shakes and was limited to 800
calories a day. The participants stayed on this diet for eight
Following this diet, the patients lost a lot of weight, but also
increased their bone mineral density, Christensen said.
During the next eight weeks, the participants continued the
diet, but increased their calories to 1,200 a day with one formula
meal replaced by low-fat, high-protein foods plus some
Dieticians supervised the participants, Christensen noted.
During the first eight weeks, people lost an average of 26
pounds, according to the study.
"This is achievable for all people with knee osteoarthritis, because 91 percent of all the people who started the trial completed 16 weeks of the trial, so it's feasible," he said.
The findings appear in the Dec. 21 issue of the
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
While the study's main funding came from two Norwegian
foundations, it was funded in part by the makers of the Cambridge
Weight Plan. Study co-author Dr. Anthony Leeds is the medical
director of the program. The company paid for the dieticians and
donated their products, Christensen said.
The diets included the recommended daily intake of amino acids,
fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals, the researchers said. It also
increased levels of vitamin D, which is essential for bone growth.
Levels of vitamin B12 were also boosted, to improve nervous-system
functioning of the nervous system and blood production.
Losing weight helped more than 60 percent of the participants
reduce their knee pain and improved their ability to walk, the
Osteoarthritis results in degradation of joints causing joint
pain, tenderness, stiffness and locking. According to Christensen,
many weight-loss diets decrease bone mineral density, which can
weaken bones, especially among people who can't exercise.
The researchers have followed these patients for a year to see
if they have maintained their weight loss and whether their
osteoarthritis has improved, Christensen said. "The results are
looking good," he said.
Maintaining weight loss over time is the challenge, Heller
Without learning strategies for managing life's daily obstacle
course of stressors, frustrations, temptations and social
interactions, it is highly likely that people who lose weight on a
formula diet will regain the weight they lost when they stop the
program, she said.
"Losing weight is difficult at best, and for people who are overweight or obese the struggle is complex and involves environmental, physiological, psychological and health issues," Heller said.
"People who are motivated to make lifestyle changes should work with trained, accredited, health professionals such as a registered dietitian and their physician," she added.
For more on osteoarthritis, visit the
U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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