Responses to Frequently Asked Questions
1. How are study meals prepared?
All study meals are prepared from scratch by Sodexo, the campus dining service, using fresh ingredients. The food is delicious and we designed the menus to accommodate a variety of tastes.
2. Do I have to eat everything given to me?
Yes, you are required to finish all foods and beverages on your study tray. The (FS)2 team carefully portions your food so that you will lose 10-14% of your body weight during the first part of the study and then stay at your new weight during the second part of the study. If you consistently feel hungry or if you are unable to eat all of the food provided, one of the (FS)2 dietitians will work with you to address the issue.
3. Can I eat anything other than study food?
While you are in the study, you can only eat the food we provide.
The study uses a list of allowed beverages and seasonings. You can drink limited amounts of non-caloric beverages such as plain, unsweetened coffee or tea, diet soda, and Crystal Light. You can use artificial sweeteners, in limited amounts, and you can add any milk provided with your meals to coffee and tea. You can drink as much water as you like for the duration of the study. We will give you guidelines for the allowed beverages and seasonings before starting the study.
4. Will I get beverages with my study meals?
Some study meals include a beverage such as milk or juice. For those meals that do not include a beverage, you may drink water or one of the other allowed beverages.
5. Will there be any choice in study meals?
We can accommodate some food preferences, but not all. Because (FS)2 is a research study, not a commercial weight-loss program, we follow standardized menus and recipes. The study menus include a wide variety of tastes and flavors, including traditional foods on some holidays. Look at the sample study menus on the (FS)2 Web site for more information about which types of foods are on the diets.
6. Does the study accommodate special diets?
We can accommodate many food allergies. However, due to the risk of cross-contamination, we cannot accommodate peanut allergy.
We can provide Lactaid milk for anyone with lactose intolerance. You can take lactase pills on your own if you have issues with other lactose-containing foods.
We include some vegetarian meals in the meal plan, but are unable to serve a menu that is 100% vegetarian.
The (FS)2 study meals are not gluten free and cannot be prepared gluten free.
One of the (FS)2 dietitians can answer any specific questions you have about foods on the study menus.
7. Do I have to eat on a schedule?
A strict schedule is not required. However, we ask that you eat 3 meals per day at times that approximate breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus an evening snack. At the (FS)2 kitchen, breakfast is served from 7:30-10:30AM, lunch is served 11AM-2:30PM and dinner is served 4:30PM-7:30PM. We ask that you eat each meal in a single sitting – parts of meals should not be “saved for later.”
8. Do I need to eat all meals on-site at the (FS-two) kitchen?
All participants are required to eat at least some meals on campus.
If you are a student living on the FSU campus, you will continue to eat all of your study meals in the Dining Commons. We can make accommodations for your work schedule. Weekend trips off campus may also be accommodated with advance notice.
For all other participants (FSU commuter students, faculty, staff, and Framingham community members), some study meals are eaten on-site and other meals are “take-out.” The (FS)2 team will work with you before the start of the study to establish a meal schedule that works for you.
9. Will I get any “pass” days when I don’t need to follow the study diet? Can I take a break for my birthday and on holidays?
No, the protocol does not allow for pass days. We need to maintain strict dietary control for the duration of the study. However, for major holidays, we prepare special menus with traditional holiday dishes.
10. What happens if I am sick and do not feel like eating or prefer to eat something else?
We handle sickness on a case-by-case basis.
11. How often do I need to come to campus?
Study participants are on the FSU campus for two reasons – study meals and study visits.
You will need to eat and pick up study meals at the (FS)2 kitchen at least 5 days per week for the entire study.
You will also need to come to the (FS)2 lab for your study visits. We take study measurements four times throughout the study. Each of these four study measurement periods lasts three weeks. A (FS)2 team member can provide you with more information on the study measurements.
12. What do I do if the University closes for inclement weather?
If you are a student living on the FSU campus, you will continue to report to the Dining Commons for your study meals. The (FS)2 kitchen remains open and operational during school closures.
All other participants (FSU commuter students, faculty, staff, and Framingham community members) are given a supply of frozen meals that should be eaten if the university is closed for inclement weather.
13. Are you open on the weekends?
The (FS)2 kitchen is open on the weekends for you to eat study meals on-site or to pick-up “take-out” meals.
The (FS)2 lab where you will go for your study visits is open Monday-Friday and occasional weekends.
14. How much can I exercise?
We allow and encourage regular exercise during study participation.
15. Can I go on a vacation and still participate in the study?
It depends. Individuals planning an extended vacation or planning to leave the continental United States during the study period may not be able to participate.
The (FS)2 kitchen can provide take-out meals for a maximum of 3 days with advance notice. We may be able to ship food within the continental U.S., but only if you can make appropriate arrangements to refrigerate and heat your food.
If you need to leave the Framingham area during the study, we ask that you talk with the (FS)2 team. As with any changes to your regular meal schedule, the sooner we know about vacation requests, the better. Vacation requests are considered on a case-by-case basis. It may not be possible to accommodate all vacation requests.