Regularly incorporating Korean dishes into a mainly Western-style diet may be an effective way to lose weight, say researchers.
Their study found that regular consumption of Korean food correlated with body weight change in a group of overweight and obese Australians, such that the more frequently individuals included Korean meals in their diet, the greater their weight loss.
The findings come from a longer follow-up study of a 12-week intervention in which 60 individuals with a mean body mass index (BMI) of 31.1 kg/m2 had a similar weight loss whether randomly assigned to follow a Korean diet (KD, n=25) or a Western diet (WD, n=35).
However, as the researchers found that food acceptability scores significantly favored the WD at week 12, they decided to look at the longer term effects of the two interventions at 6, 9, and 12 months after the intervention. Participants were no longer prescribed a specific diet during this period, but were encouraged to follow KD and WD recipe books that were handed out at the beginning of the intervention.
Results showed that there were no significant between-group differences in weight loss over the 12 months, with the KD group showing a mean loss in body weight of 4.2% and the WD group showing a loss of 4.3%. BMI, waist and hip circumference, and blood pressure levels did not differ between the groups either.
As reported in Obesity Research and Clinical Practice, food acceptability scores increased significantly among the KD participants after they stopped being provided with Korean meals every day. Similar proportions of each group reported they had adopted Korean food (29% of original WD participants) or continued to eat it (32% of KD participants), although the frequency of consumption decreased from week 12 at each time point during follow-up.
Further analysis showed that regular intake of Korean food correlated significantly with body weight change in the whole group during the period from week 12 to week 26, a relationship that was even stronger within the KD group.
In addition, intake of one meal or more of Korean food each week during weeks 12-26 was an independent predictor of weight loss, report the researchers, who say they plan to conduct future trials that will include a larger sample size and a structured twice weekly Korean meal as part of the follow up diet.
"A fusion cuisine that consists of both Western style and Korean meal constituents may be more accepted and better adopted by the Australian population and hence adhered to on a longer-term basis," they suggest.
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