Randomized Pilot Study Examining the Impact of an Online Diet Among Working Adults


  • Diana Kolb Student




Body composition, Diet quality, Randomized Control Trial, Fruit, Vegetables, Work Impairment


The term “diet” is often associated with restricting certain foods or caloric intake; however, diet quality is defined as nutritional epidemiology to evaluate the population’s dietary habits and the efficacy of dietary interventions. There is a growing interest in diet quality, specifically increased intake of fruits and vegetables (F&V), as a more appropriate approach for improving health outcomes. This study aimed to test an online, non-restrictive diet among the working population. Participants were randomized to complete an 8-week diet program using an online application or waitlist control that would receive the diet program after an 8-week waiting period. The diet program consisted of a technical application (app) that included ways to incorporate 800g of F&V in their daily diet. The program included a competitive and gamified component to compare with others using a leaderboard. The primary research questions were if there was a differential change in body mass index (BMI), skeletal muscle mass (SMM), fat mass (FM), and work impairment between the control and intervention groups. Participants were asked to complete 2 study visits (Baseline & 8 weeks). During each visit, the participants were asked to complete a standard Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) protocol measuring BMI, SMM, and FM and questionnaires including the Lam Employment Absence and Productivity Scale (LEAPS) as a measure of work impairment. A two-way ANOVA was performed to compare BMI, SMM, and FM between the groups over time. There was no significant difference in BMI [F (20) = 0.83, p= .78], FM [ F (20) = 0.30, p= .59] between groups following the 8-week intervention. There was a significant difference in SMM [F (20) = 5.39, p= .03] following the 8-week intervention favoring the intervention group. There was no significant difference in work impairment [F (19) = 1.70, p= .21] between the groups following the 8-week intervention. More research should be conducted on whether a non-restrictive diet intervention focused on F&V intake effectively improves overall health in adults.