DIETFITS – looking at the data

Introduction

On January 25th, 2021, we looked at the latest publication from the DIETFITS trial (Ref 1). This acronym comes from “Diet Intervention Examining The Factors Interacting with Treatment Success.” This is the study that randomised 609 men and women to either a healthy low-carb (HLC) or healthy low-fat (HLF) diet and examined weight loss and other measures over a 12-month period.

I reported in that recent note that I approached the authors with a query and they very kindly shared all the original data from the trial with me in reply (Ref 2). I have had a chance to look at the data and it has been fascinating.

The publications from the trial so far have looked at the four groupings – men doing HLF, men doing HLC, women doing HLF and women doing HLC. This has given us insights into which diet might perform better (low carb or low fat) and which sex might perform better (men or women) and which combinations might perform better (men doing low carb vs women doing low fat, for example). Having recruited 609 men and women and having assigned them to HLC or HLF, this was the right approach. However, looking at the entirety of the raw data, there is another interesting approach – what can we learn from the people who did best? Instead of averaging everyone, is there a way of looking at the best (and perhaps worst) performers and learning from what they did? That’s what I set out to do for this week’s note.

 

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