A weight-loss program adapted to the menstrual cycle increases weight loss in healthy, overweight, premenopausal women: A 6-mo randomized controlled trial

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Background: Hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle influence energy intake and expenditure as well as eating preferences and behavior.

Objective: We examined the impact of a diet and exercise weight-loss program that was designed to target and moderate the effects of the menstrual cycle compared with the effect of simple energy restriction.

Design: A total of 60 healthy, overweight, premenopausal women were included in a 6-mo weight-loss program in which each subject consumed a diet of 1600 kcal/d. Subjects were randomly assigned to either a combined diet and exercise program that was tailored to metabolic changes of the menstrual cycle (Menstralean) or to undergo simple energy restriction (control).

Results: Thirty-one women (19 Menstralean and 12 control women) completed the study [mean ± SD body mass index (in kg/m(2)): 32.0 ± 5.2]. Both groups lost weight during the study. In an intention-to-treat analysis, the Menstralean group did not achieve a clinically significant weight loss compared with that of the control group (P = 0.61). In per-protocol analyses, a more-pronounced weight loss of 4.3 ± 1.4 kg (P = 0.002) was shown in adherent Menstralean subjects than in the control group.

Conclusion: A differentiated diet and exercise program that is tailored to counteract food cravings and metabolic changes throughout the menstrual cycle may increase weight loss above that achieved with a traditional diet and exercise program in women who can comply with the program. 

This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT01622114.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)15-20
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2016

ID: 162379533