With a Bachelor of Science from the University of Western Australia and a PhD from the University of Geneva, Switzerland, Professor Amanda Salis (publishing as Sainsbury) leads full-time research into dietary treatments for overweight and obesity at the University of Sydney’s Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise & Eating Disorders in the Charles Perkins Centre. Her translational research into hypothalamic control of appetite, eating behavior, energy expenditure, body weight and body composition spans transgenic mice, adults with overweight or obesity, as well as adult athletes. Her randomized controlled trials comparing long-term effects of fast versus slow weight loss – using intermittent versus continuous energy restriction – are funded by a Senior Research Fellowship and Project Grants from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) of Australia. She is the author of two books about adult weight management that are available internationally in three languages and are used by consumers, community health centres / gyms, and by healthcare professionals.

Impact of fast versus slow weight loss on health

For many years, healthcare professionals have recommended ‘slow and steady’ weight loss, with very few recommending fast weight loss. Fast weight loss is often achieved via total meal replacement diets, which induce weight losses of approximately 0.5 to 2 kg per week, which some people find motivating. Moreover, some people report not feeling hungry while on a total meal replacement diet. In recent years it was shown that weight regain after fast weight loss was no more rapid than after slow weight loss, but what about health effects?

Dr. Salis will outline 12-month findings from the TEMPO Diet Trial (Type of Energy Manipulation for Promoting optimum metabolic health and body composition in Obesity), a randomized controlled trial comparing the long-term (36-month) effects of fast versus slow weight loss on body composition and cardio-metabolic health in 101 postmenopausal women with obesity (ANZCTR Reference Number 12612000651886). Participants were randomised to either 16 weeks of FAST weight loss (60-69% energy restriction) followed by 36 weeks of slow weight loss (24-33% energy restriction), or 52 weeks of SLOW weight loss. To help preserve lean mass, supplemental protein was added so that both diets had a prescribed protein intake of 1g/kg body weight per day. Using gold-standard measures of body composition (including dual energy X-ray absorptiometry of the total body and hip bone, magnetic resonance imaging and magnetic resonance spectroscopy), as well as functional assessment of muscle strength, the effects of fast versus slow weight loss on fat mass and distribution, bone mineral density, muscle mass, muscle diameter (thigh) and muscle (handgrip) strength can be determined.


Public Lecture
“Extreme dieting” is the New Black – Here’s Why

Effects of fasting or semi-fasting (i.e. severe energy restriction) on weight management / hunger regulation / binge eating behaviour / weight regain