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Formula Diets

H. J. Roberts, M.D.
JAMA. 1961;178(3):352. doi:10.1001/jama.1961.03040420092024.
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To the Editor:—  The statement concerning the inadvisability of using formula diets in weight control (JAMA176:439 [May 6] 1961) may be misleading to physicians who are discriminately recommending their use. Dogmatic inferences about the lack of rationale of these reputable products and the undesirability of excessive weight loss are contradicted by clinical trials. Their general acceptance represents a significant methodologic achievement in the challenging problem of effective long-term weight reduction.These remarks are prompted by my 3-year experience entailing the personal outpatient supervision of more than 150 patients presenting with serious illnesses aggravated by obesity. A formula reducing diet (Metrecal) was incorporated into the panoramic approach to their management as either the chief source of calories, as an alternation with hypocaloric meals, or as a supplement to hypocaloric dietotherapy. Supplementary measures deemed necessary for individual patients (e.g., diabetics requiring insulin, bulimia resulting from adrenocortical or steroid therapy, functional


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