UCLA researchers seek obese adults with advanced heart failure to participate in a lifestyle modification program to gauge the effectiveness of a high protein diet on weight loss, quality of life and clinical outcome improvement.
"Previous research has shown that increased amounts of protein in the diet can improve weight loss because protein makes people feel fuller for longer than other nutrients," said Lorraine Evangelista, R.N., Ph.D., study investigator, UCLA School of Nursing. "Since obesity can exacerbate illnesses such as heart failure, it's important for patients to maintain a healthy weight."
To qualify for the study, volunteers need to have a body mass index greater than 30, which translates into needing to lose at least 30 pounds.
Participants will be chosen at random (similar to flipping a coin) to be on either a high protein diet, with 30 percent of calories derived from protein, or to be in the group on a standard protein diet, with 15 percent of calories from protein. Volunteers will be given a diet plan and meet with a dietician to help guide their nutritional needs.
In addition to dietary intervention, participants will be given an exercise plan and encouraged to exercise for 30-60 minutes daily as tolerated. Participants will continue to receive usual medical care from their cardiologist or personal physician.
"We hope that introduction of such lifestyle modification will help patient's lose weight, which may also translate into other benefits such as improved quality of life and better patient outcomes," said Dr. David Heber, study investigator and director, UCLA Center for Human Nutrition.
The intensive lifestyle modification program will last three months, with follow-up appointments every three months thereafter for the next year (15 months total). Procedures involved in the study include heart imaging with an echocardiogram, exercise stress test, body composition imaging, blood tests as well as quality of life questionnaires.
Potential risks from the diet include feeling tired and weak as a result of weight loss. Participants will be monitored carefully during exercise stress tests for shortness of breath and fatigue. Patients taking the medication warfarin, will be checked regularly since adding green leafy vegetables to the diet increases vitamin K that can decrease the medication's therapeutic effectiveness.
The study is funded by the National Institutes of Health. Volunteers can earn up to $300 for study participation.
For more information about the study, please call the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition at 310-206-8292