(FS)2: Framingham State Food Study

(FS)2: Framingham State Food Study

The Framingham Sate Food Study, also known as (FS)2, is a landmark nutrition and weight loss study investigating the broad question, "Is one diet better than other for keeping weight off?" In partnership with Boston Children's Hosptial (BCH), the three-year community based research took place at Framingham State University (FSU) with assessments and data collection occurring at the (FS)2 House, 23 Salem End Road. The first cohort of campus participants, including students, faculty and staff, began in mid-August, 2014 and ended in May, 2015, Twenty-five participants lost over 600 pounds and maintained that weight loss. Cohort 2 participants (N=57), made up of campus-wide and community subjects, lost a total of 1,321 pounds. The third and final cohort of campus, community and satellite* participants (N=72), began the study in August or 2016 and finished in May 2017. This group lost a combined total of 2063 pounds bringing the total weight loss of all three cohorts to 3986 pounds!

In collaboration with Sodexo Dining Services, the feeding study provided participants with all meals spanning one academic year. After a 12-week period of weight loss, study participants were randomly assigned to one of three popular diets (high-carbohydrate, moderate-carbohydrate, and low-carbohydrate). All diets consisted of healthful foods prepared by Sodexo Dining Services. During the study, participants obtained their food and beverages at the FSU Dining Commons.

*For the third and final cohort, Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School (AV) in Marlborough, MA was a satellite site for the study; the AV Food Services staff use Sodexo menus and recipes to prepare meals.

Participants were compensated for the meals and for their time: maximum total value = approximately $6500. At the end of the study, participants will receive a personalized health report including changes in body fat, lean mass, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.

This unprecedented collaboration between FSU and BCH and further extended by the AV partnership will allow us to address critical questions in nutrition — specifically, what is the optimal diet for long-term weight loss maintenance — that have eluded answers for more than a century. Data analysis and results of the clinical research study will be presented on the Framingham State University campus in spring/fall 2018.

Who is doing this study?

Drs. Cara Ebbeling and David Ludwig, nutrition researchers at BCH, are the Principal Investigators. The Nutrition Science Initiative (NuSi) is the primary funder of this research study.

Why this study?

We want to know if one diet is better than another for maintaining weight loss and decreasing risk for disease. We aim to answer questions such as:

  • Is one diet better than another for “keeping weight off” and decreasing risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer?
  • Why might one diet be better than another?
  • Why might individuals respond differently to different diets?

Key Staff

Dr. Cara Ebbeling, Principal Investigator, Boston Children’s Hospital. Cara.Ebbeling@childrens.harvard.edu

Dr. David Ludwig, Principal Investigator, Boston Children’s Hospital. David.Ludwig@childrens.harvard.edu

Gloria Klein, Study Director, Boston Children’s Hospital. Gloria.Klein@childrens.harvard.edu

Dr. Julia Wong, Assistant Director, Boston Children’s Hospital. Julia.Wong@childrens.harvard.edu

Dr. Pat Luoto, Project Director, Framingham State University. pluoto@framingham.edu


Browse the (FS)2: Framingham State Food Study Collections:

(FS)2 Documentation

(FS)2 Publications