There is debate over the independent and combined effects of caloric restriction (CR) and physical activity (PA) on reduction in fat mass and in epicardial fat thickness. We compared the impact of a similar energy deficit prescription by CR or by CR combined with PA on total fat mass, epicardial fat thickness, and cardiometabolic profile in individuals with type 2 diabetes
In this 16-week randomized controlled study, 73 individuals were randomly enrolled to receive: 1) a monthly motivational phone call (Control), 2) a caloric deficit of -700 kilocalories/day (CR), or 3) a caloric deficit of -500 kilocalories/day combined with a PA program of -200 kilocalories/day (CR&PA). Total fat mass, epicardial fat, and cardiometabolic profile were measured at baseline and after 16 weeks.
While comparable weight loss occurred in both intervention groups (-3.9±3.5 kg [CR], -5.1±4.7kg [CR&PA], -0.2±2.9kg [Control];), changes in total fat mass were significantly different between all groups (-2.4 ± 2.9 kg [CR], -4.5±3.4kg [CR&PA], +0.1 ± 2.1kg [Control]; p<0.05) as well as epicardial fat thickness (-0.4±1.6 mm [CR], -1.4±1.4 mm [CR&PA], +1.1±1.3 mm [Control]; p<0.05). There were no significant differences in trends for cardiometabolic parameters improvement between groups.
For a similar energy deficit prescription and comparable weight loss, the combination of CR&PA provides a greater reduction in fat mass and epicardial fat thickness than CR alone in individuals with comparable weight loss and with a similar energy deficit prescription. These results, however, do not translate into significant improvements in cardiometabolic profiles.