Reductions in food cravings are similar with low-fat weight loss diets differing in protein and carbohydrate in overweight and obese adults with type 2 diabetes: A randomized clinical trial

Nerylee A. Watson, Kathryn A. Dyer, Jonathan D. Buckley, Grant D. Brinkworth, Alison M. Coates, Gaynor Parfitt, Peter R.C. Howe, Manny Noakes, Karen J. Murphy

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11 Citations (Scopus)


Food cravings are common in type 2 diabetes (T2D). Higher-protein diets are effective in improving satiety but their effect on cravings is unclear. It was hypothesized that a high protein (HP) diet would provide greater reductions in cravings than an isocaloric higher-carbohydrate diet (HC). In a randomized controlled trial, 61 adults (54% males) with T2D (means ± SD: BMI 34.3 ± 5.1 kg/m 2 ; aged 55 ± 8 years) consumed either a HP diet (mean across study: 29% protein, 34% carbohydrate, 31% fat) or an isocaloric HC diet (21%:48%:24%) for 12-weeks each of weight loss (WL) and weight maintenance (WM). The Food Craving Inventory (FCI), measuring types of foods craved and the General Food Craving Questionnaires measuring traits (G-FCQ-T) and states (G-FCQ-S) were assessed at Weeks 0, 12 and 24. Weight changes were similar between groups (means ± SEM: WL: -7.8 ± 0.6 kg, WM: −0.6 ± 0.4 kg). No group effects or group x time interactions were found for any outcome (P ≥.07). Independent of group, all food cravings (except carbohydrates) and G-FCQ-T subscales decreased over the 24-week study (P ≤.04) with sweets and fast food cravings, loss of control and emotional cravings reducing following WL (P ≤.03). Obsessive preoccupation with food decreased following both phases (WL: P =.03; WM: P =.001). Weight was associated with several FCI subscales (r ≥ 0.24, P ≤.04). In conclusion, both the HP and HC diets provided significant reductions in food cravings after similar weight losses which were maintained when weight was stabilized.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-66
Number of pages11
JournalNutrition Research
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Sept 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Diet
  • Food Cravings
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Weight Loss
  • Weight Maintenance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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