George L. Blackburn Symposium to Feature Weight Loss Studies

Reports Reveal Different Research Designs

Silver Spring, Maryland, UNITED STATES

Nashville, Tenn., Nov. 14, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Two studies investigating the effect of macronutrient content on  metabolism but approaching the topic with different research designs will be the focus of a symposium honoring George L. Blackburn, MD, PhD, a pioneering obesity scientist and surgeon; and former president of The Obesity Society (TOS).

Authors of the studies will present their work in a lecture format followed by a discussion at The Obesity Society/American Society of Nutrition Joint George L. Blackburn, MD, PhD, Nutrition and Metabolism Symposium: Science Driving the Media in Nutrition Research—What Will it Take? The event will be held from 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 noon (CST) on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, in the Davidson Ballroom A-C, Level 1M, at the Music City Center, 201 Fifth Avenue South, in Nashville, Tenn. The symposium is part of ObesityWeekSM—an international scientific conference featuring world-renowned experts in the field of obesity.

TOS President Caroline Apovian, MD, FACP, FTOS, DABOM, who worked with Blackburn before he lost his life to cancer in February 2017, will serve as chair of the symposium and provide an introduction prior to the session explaining the title of the symposium for this year.

“These studies investigate the effect of different foods on metabolism,” Apovian explained. She added that the purpose of the symposium is to better understand the differences in the study design for each report and what fellow researchers, clinicians and educators can conclude based on that knowledge, so that “the media can take the information and communicate it correctly to the public.” Apovian said that previous news reports on similar topics have misinformed readers.

Cara Ebbeling, PhD, FTOS and David S. Ludwig, MD, PhD, FTOS, both of Boston Children’s Hospital, will deliver a presentation titled “Study Results Show MacroNutrient Content Affects Energy Expenditure, and So Does Insulin Secretion.” Christopher Gardner, PhD, professor of medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine, will discuss “Study Results Show Similar Weight Loss Patterns with a Healthy, Low-Fat Versus a Healthy Low-Carbohydrate Diet Testing for Predisposition by Genotype Pattern and Baseline Insulin Metabolism.”

The study authored by Ebbeling and Ludwig reports that low-carbohydrate diets allow people to burn more calories. Gardner’s study, however, suggests that actually  no option is superior when choosing a low-fat or a low-carbohydrate diet to lose weight. Gardner’s study also found that insulin secretion or a specific genotype pattern does not predict the success of a person’s weight loss efforts. In contrast, Ebbeling/Ludwig report concludes that those with high insulin secretion actually derive an especially large metabolic benefit from a low-carbohydrate diet.

Kevin Hall, PhD, who is familiar with both studies, will serve as moderator for the discussion following the two presentations. Hall is a tenured senior investigator at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, one of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.

“To understand the science behind these studies, you have to first understand the study design,” said Apovian.


The Obesity Society (TOS) is the leading organization of scientists and health professionals devoted to understanding and reversing the epidemic of obesity and its adverse health, economic and societal effects.  Combining the perspective of physicians and other clinicians, scientists, policymakers and patients, TOS promotes innovative research, education, and evidence-based clinical care to improve the health and well-being of all people with obesity. For more information, visit and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.


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