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 weeks.
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 carbohydrates.
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 s
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