Introduction. Surgery-induced oxidative stress increases the risk of perioperative complications and delay in postoperative recovery. In mice, short-term preoperative dietary and protein restriction protect against oxidative stress. We investigated the feasibility of a calorie- and protein-restricted diet in two patient populations. Methods. In this pilot study, 30 live kidney donors and 38 morbidly obese patients awaiting surgery were randomized into three groups: a restricted diet group, who received a synthetic liquid diet with 30% fewer calories and 80% less protein for five consecutive days; a group who received a synthetic diet containing the daily energy requirements (DER); and a control group. Feasibility was assessed using self-reported discomfort, body weight changes, and metabolic parameters in blood samples. Results. Twenty patients (71%) complied with the restricted and 13 (65%) with the DER-diet. In total, 68% of the patients reported minor discomfort that resolved after normal eating resumed. The mean weight loss on the restricted diet was significantly greater (2.4 kg) than in the control group (0 kg, p = 0.002), but not in the DER-diet (1.5 kg). The restricted diet significantly reduced levels of serum urea and plasma prealbumin (PAB) and retinol binding protein (RBP). Conclusions. A short-term preoperative calorie- and protein-restricted diet is feasible in kidney donors and morbidly obese patients. Compliance is high and can be objectively measured via changes in urea, PAB, and RBP levels. These results demonstrate that this diet can be used to study the effects of dietary restriction on surgery-induced oxidative stress in a clinical setting
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