In February of 2018, we were contacted by a dietician at Boston Children’s Hospital who wanted to know if our company could potentially provide food for the largest study of the low carb diet and weight loss in history! We were intrigued and had several phone meetings to discuss logistics, and then came to our first in-person meeting with food and beverage samples for their team to try. There, we got to meet Dr. David Ludwig and Dr. Cara Ebbeling, the primary investigators and two giants in their respective research fields.
We learned quite a bit in that first meeting alone, and even more as we dove into the details of how to get food safely shipped in the hot summer months. The number of weekly meals for the study was larger than our production capacity at the time, but that would have been relatively easy to scale up; the real issue was delivery and shipping. It soon became apparent that we could best contribute to this study as consultants rather than as food producers (although we will be doing that on a smaller scale for some future studies at other institutions).
We had a great time getting into the practical ins and outs of how to do an effective low carb diet with the study participants. We talked about everything from how to get participants to take all of their electrolytes to what the ideal recipe was for fat bombs. We went through the potentially frustrating obstacles that the researchers might encounter with helping people stay compliant with the diet while at holiday gatherings with family, during times of emotional distress, and when cravings inevitably popped up. We ended up designing some fat bomb recipes that did get used in the study, which was great fun.
Working with the dieticians and other study staff at Children’s Hospital has been wonderful. We will continue to consult on this study until the last wave of participants completes their residential stays (metabolic ward studies for the win!), and we will provide counseling for any participants who want to continue with a low carb way of eating. We are excited to be a small part of this historic study, and look forward to seeing the results.