Research Papers:

Low salt and low calorie diet does not reduce more body fat than same calorie diet: a randomized controlled study

Hye Jin Kang _, Dae Won Jun, Seung Min Lee, Eun Chul Jang and Yong Kyun Cho

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Oncotarget. 2018; 9:8521-8530. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.23959

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Hye Jin Kang1, Dae Won Jun1*, Seung Min Lee2*, Eun Chul Jang3 and Yong Kyun Cho4

1Department of Internal Medicine, Hanyang University College of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea

2Department of Food and Nutrition, Sungshin Women's University, Seoul, South Korea

3Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Soonchunhyang University College of Medicine, Cheonan, South Korea

4Department of Internal Medicine, Kangbuk Samsung Hospital, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Dae Won Jun, email: [email protected]

Seung Min Lee, email: [email protected]

Keywords: low salt; obesity; diet

Received: July 28, 2017     Accepted: November 16, 2017     Published: January 04, 2018


Background: Recent several observational studies have reported that high salt intake is associated with obesity. But it is unclear whether salt intake itself induce obesity or low salt diet can reduce body fat mass. We investigated whether a low salt diet can reduce body weight and fat amount.

Matrials and Methods: The randomized, open-label pilot trial was conducted at a single institution. A total of 85 obese people were enrolled. All participants were served meals three times a day, and provided either a low salt diet or control diet with same calorie. Visceral fat was measured with abdominal computer tomography, while body fat mass and total body water was measured with bio-impedance.

Results: Reductions in body weight (–6.3% vs. –5.0%, p = 0.05) and BMI (–6.6% vs. –5.1%, p = 0.03) were greater in the low salt group than in the control group. Extracellular water and total body water were significantly reduced in the low salt group compared to the control group. However, changes in body fat mass, visceral fat area, and skeletal muscle mass did not differ between the two groups. Changes in lipid profile, fasting glucose, and HOMA-IR did not differ between the two groups.

Conclusions: A two-month low salt diet was accompanied by reduction of body mass index. However, the observed decrease of body weight was caused by reduction of total body water, not by reduction of body fat mass or visceral fat mass.

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