Increment in dietary potassium predicts weight loss in the treatment of the metabolic syndrome

Brurya Tal, Jessica Sack, Marianna Yaron, Gabi Shefer, Assaf Buch, Limor Ben Haim, Yonit Marcus, Galina Shenkerman, Yael Sofer, Lili Shefer, Miri Margaliot, Naftali Stern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: In the treatment of obesity/metabolic syndrome, dietary measures traditionally focus on reducing carbohydrate/fat-related caloric intake. The possibility that changes in potassium consumption may be related to the achieved weight loss has not been previously explored. Methods: Sixty-eight participants, with a mean age of 51.6 ± 11.0 years (F/M—30/38), who fulfilled the ATPIII criteria for the metabolic syndrome (MS) were enrolled into a 1-year intensive multidisciplinary program. Nutritional recommendation consisted of a moderate low calorie/high protein Mediterranean diet. Baseline assessment included clinical and biochemical profiling, and body composition. Nutritional components were registered over 7 days before and at the end of 1 year of treatment. Results: Mean baseline body mass index (BMI) was 35 ± 4 kg/m², which declined by 9.4 ± 0.1% after one year of combined intervention. Linear stepwise regression analysis revealed that 45% of the predicted variance of the% decline in BMI was related to increased consumption of dietary potassium (β = −0.865) and caproic acid (β = −0.423) and reduction in the consumption of dietary vitamin B6 (β = 0.542), calcium (β = 0.335), total carbohydrates (β = 0.239) and total caloric intake (β = 0.238; p < 0.001). Notably, the strongest correlate of the decline in BMI was the increase in dietary potassium intake (β = −0.865). Subjects whose achieved decrease in BMI was above the average (n = 30) increased potassium intake by 25% as compared to an increase in dietary potassium intake of only 3% by those whose decline in BMI was below the average (n = 36; p < 0.05). The change in dietary potassium was related to the percent increase in dietary protein (r = 0.433; p < 0.001). Conclusion: An increase in dietary potassium consumption is a previously unrecognized predictor of the achieved reduction in BMI in a weight-loss-oriented multidisciplinary intervention in obesity/MS. Prospective trials are underway to confirm this post-hoc finding.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1256
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Dietary potassium
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Weight loss


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