Portion-controlled meals provide increases in diet quality during weight loss and maintenance

L. T. Ptomey, E. A. Willis, J. R. Goetz, J. Lee, A. N. Szabo-Reed, D. K. Sullivan, J. E. Donnelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background: Behavioural weight-loss interventions utilising portion-controlled meals (PCMs) produce significant decreases in weight. However, their impact on diet quality during weight maintenance is unknown. The present study aimed to assess the influence of a weight management intervention employing PCMs and increased physical activity on diet quality during weight loss and weight maintenance. Methods: One hundred and ninety-seven overweight and obese adults [67% women; mean (SD) BMI = 34.0 (4.6) kg m-2; age = 46.1 (8.9) years] completed an 18-month trial. The weight-loss phase (0-6 months) consisted of energy restriction, which was achieved using PCMs plus fruits and vegetables and increased physical activity. During weight maintenance (6-18 months), participants consumed a diet designed to maintain weight loss. Body weight and dietary intake were assessed at baseline, and at 6, 12 and 18 months. The Healthy Eating Index-2010 (HEI) was calculated using data obtained from 3-day food records. Results: Mean (SD) body weight was 14.3% (6.6%) and 8.7% (8.0%) below baseline at 6 and 18 months, respectively. The mean (SD) HEI-2010 score after weight loss [66.6 (9.4)] was significantly higher than baseline [46.4 (8.9)] and remained significantly higher than baseline at 18 months [57.7 (10.6)] (both P < 0.001). Conclusions: A weight management intervention using PCMs resulted in both clinically significant weight loss and increased diet quality scores, demonstrating that the use of PCMs during weight loss allows for meaningful changes in diet quality during weight maintenance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-216
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


  • Dietary change
  • Dietary intervention
  • Obesity


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