Photo of Cara B. Ebbeling,  PhD

Cara B. Ebbeling, PhD

Boston Children's Hospital

Boston Children's Hospital
Phone: (617) 355-2379
Fax: (617) 730-0183

Cara B. Ebbeling, PhD

Boston Children's Hospital


  • Associate Professor, Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School
  • Co-Director of Obesity Research, Endocrinology, Boston Children's Hospital


Research Abstract

Dr. Ebbeling holds a PhD in nutrition and an MS in exercise science. Moreover, she has experience in behavioral counseling for promoting dietary change and in using self-report methodology to assess diet and physical activity. She has successfully designed, implemented, and evaluated lifestyle interventions in free-living children, adolescents, and adults.

Her current research is aimed at evaluating the efficacy of weight loss diets that vary in quantity and quality of carbohydrate and fat, with particular focus on dietary glycemic index. In addition, she conducts studies to understand the role of fast food and sugar-sweetened beverages in promoting weight gain.


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  • Ebbeling CB. Sugar-sweetened beverages and body weight. Curr. Opin. Lipidol. 2014; 25:1-7. PubMed
  • Lennerz BS, Alsop DC, Holsen LM, Stern E, Rojas R, Ebbeling CB, Goldstein JM, Ludwig DS. Effects of dietary glycemic index on brain regions related to reward and craving in men. Am J Clin Nutr 2013; 98:641-7. PubMed
  • Ramon-Krauel M, Salsberg SL, Ebbeling CB, Voss SD, Mulkern RV, Apura MM, Cooke EA, Sarao K, Jonas MM, Ludwig DS. A low-glycemic-load versus low-fat diet in the treatment of fatty liver in obese children. Child Obes 2013; 9:252-60. PubMed
  • Nagler EM, Pednekar MS, Viswanath K, Sinha DN, Aghi MB, Pischke CR, Ebbeling CB, Lando HA, Gupta PC, Sorensen GC. Designing in the social context: using the social contextual model of health behavior change to develop a tobacco control intervention for teachers in India. 2012. PubMed
  • Sorensen G, Stoddard A, Quintiliani L, Ebbeling C, Nagler E, Yang M, Pereira L, Wallace L. Tobacco use cessation and weight management among motor freight workers: results of the gear up for health study. Cancer Causes Control 2010; 21:2113-22. PubMed
  • Rhodes ET, Ebbeling CB, Meyers AF, Bayerl CT, Ooi WL, Bettencourt MF, Ludwig DS. Pediatric obesity management: variation by specialty and awareness of guidelines. Clin Pediatr (Phila) 2007; 46:491-504. PubMed
  • Ebbeling CB, Leidig MM, Feldman HA, Lovesky MM, Ludwig DS. Effects of a low-glycemic load vs low-fat diet in obese young adults: a randomized trial. JAMA 2007; 297:2092-102. PubMed
  • Ebbeling CB, Garcia-Lago E, Leidig MM, Seger-Shippee LG, Feldman HA, Ludwig DS. Altering portion sizes and eating rate to attenuate gorging during a fast food meal: effects on energy intake. Pediatrics 2007; 119:869-75. PubMed
  • Ebbeling CB, Pearson MN, Sorensen G, Levine RA, Hebert JR, Salkeld JA, Peterson KE. Conceptualization and development of a theory-based healthful eating and physical activity intervention for postpartum women who are low income. Health Promot Pract 2006; 8:50-9. PubMed
  • Ebbeling CB, Feldman HA, Osganian SK, Chomitz VR, Ellenbogen SJ, Ludwig DS. Effects of decreasing sugar-sweetened beverage consumption on body weight in adolescents: a randomized, controlled pilot study. Pediatrics 2006; 117:673-80. PubMed
  • Ludwig DS, Ebbeling CB. Overweight children and adolescents. N Engl J Med 2005; 353:1070-1; author reply 1070. PubMed
  • Ebbeling CB, Leidig MM, Sinclair KB, Seger-Shippee LG, Feldman HA, Ludwig DS. Effects of an ad libitum low-glycemic load diet on cardiovascular disease risk factors in obese young adults. Am J Clin Nutr 2005; 81:976-82. PubMed
  • Adams SA, Matthews CE, Ebbeling CB, Moore CG, Cunningham JE, Fulton J, Hebert JR. The effect of social desirability and social approval on self-reports of physical activity. Am J Epidemiol 2005; 161:389-98. PubMed
  • Pereira MA, Kartashov AI, Ebbeling CB, Van Horn L, Slattery ML, Jacobs DR, Ludwig DS. Fast-food habits, weight gain, and insulin resistance (the CARDIA study): 15-year prospective analysis. Lancet 2005; 365:36-42. PubMed
  • Ebbeling CB, Sinclair KB, Pereira MA, Garcia-Lago E, Feldman HA, Ludwig DS. Compensation for energy intake from fast food among overweight and lean adolescents. JAMA 2004; 291:2828-33. PubMed
  • Ludwig DS, Ebbeling CB, Peterson KE, Gortmaker SL. Hard facts about soft drinks. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 2004; 158:290; author reply 290. PubMed
  • Bowman SA, Gortmaker SL, Ebbeling CB, Pereira MA, Ludwig DS. Effects of fast-food consumption on energy intake and diet quality among children in a national household survey. Pediatrics 2004; 113:112-8. PubMed
  • Hebert JR, Patterson RE, Gorfine M, Ebbeling CB, St Jeor ST, Chlebowski RT. Differences between estimated caloric requirements and self-reported caloric intake in the women's health initiative. Ann Epidemiol 2004; 13:629-37. PubMed
  • Ebbeling CB, Leidig MM, Sinclair KB, Hangen JP, Ludwig DS. A reduced-glycemic load diet in the treatment of adolescent obesity. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 2003; 157:773-9. PubMed
  • Pawlak DB, Ebbeling CB, Ludwig DS. Spirited critique of glycaemic index (GI) and its role in the treatment of obesity. Obes Rev 2003; 4:73-4. PubMed
  • Miller SL, Maresh CM, Armstrong LE, Ebbeling CB, Lennon S, Rodriguez NR. Metabolic response to provision of mixed protein-carbohydrate supplementation during endurance exercise. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab 2002; 12:384-97. PubMed
  • Goldfine AB, Ebbeling CB, Ludwig DS. Antegrade intravenous catheterization for metabolic studies in man. Diabetologia 2003; 45:1742-3. PubMed
  • Hebert JR, Ebbeling CB, Matthews CE, Hurley TG, MA Y, Druker S, Clemow L. Systematic errors in middle-aged women's estimates of energy intake: comparing three self-report measures to total energy expenditure from doubly labeled water. Ann Epidemiol 2002; 12:577-86. PubMed
  • Pawlak DB, Ebbeling CB, Ludwig DS. Should obese patients be counselled to follow a low-glycaemic index diet? Yes. Obes Rev 2002; 3:235-43. PubMed
  • Pereira MA, Ebbeling CB, Pawlak DB, Leidig MM, Ludwig DS. In search of a lifestyle prescription to control body weight. Am J Clin Nutr 2002; 76:1140-1; author reply 1141. PubMed
  • Ludwig DS, Ebbeling CB, Pereira MA, Pawlak DB. A physiological basis for disparities in diabetes and heart disease risk among racial and ethnic groups. J Nutr 2002; 132:2492-3. PubMed
  • Ebbeling CB, Pawlak DB, Ludwig DS. Childhood obesity: public-health crisis, common sense cure. Lancet 2002; 360:473-82. PubMed
  • Ludwig DS, Ebbeling CB. Type 2 diabetes mellitus in children: primary care and public health considerations. JAMA 2001; 286:1427-30. PubMed
  • Matthews CE, Hebert JR, Freedson PS, Stanek EJ, Merriam PA, Ebbeling CB, Ockene IS. Sources of variance in daily physical activity levels in the seasonal variation of blood cholesterol study. Am J Epidemiol 2001; 153:987-95. PubMed
  • Hebert JR, Ebbeling CB, Olendzki BC, Hurley TG, Ma Y, Saal N, Ockene JK, Clemow L. Change in women's diet and body mass following intensive intervention for early-stage breast cancer. J Am Diet Assoc 2001; 101:421-31. PubMed
  • Rosal MC, Ebbeling CB, Lofgren I, Ockene JK, Ockene IS, Hebert JR. Facilitating dietary change: the patient-centered counseling model. J Am Diet Assoc 2001; 101:332-41. PubMed
  • Matthews CE, Freedson PS, Hebert JR, Stanek EJ, Merriam PA, Rosal MC, Ebbeling CB, Ockene IS. Seasonal variation in household, occupational, and leisure time physical activity: longitudinal analyses from the seasonal variation of blood cholesterol study. Am J Epidemiol 2001; 153:172-83. PubMed
  • Ebbeling CB, Ludwig DS. Treating obesity in youth: should dietary glycemic load be a consideration? Adv Pediatr 2001; 48:179-212. PubMed
  • Hebert JR, Gupta PC, Mehta H, Ebbeling CB, Bhonsle RR, Varghese F. Sources of variability in dietary intake in two distinct regions of rural India: implications for nutrition study design and interpretation. Eur J Clin Nutr 2000; 54:479-86. PubMed
  • Hebert JR, Ebbeling CB, Ockene IS, Ma Y, Rider L, Merriam PA, Ockene JK, Saperia GM. A dietitian-delivered group nutrition program leads to reductions in dietary fat, serum cholesterol, and body weight: the Worcester Area Trial for Counseling in Hyperlipidemia (WATCH). J Am Diet Assoc 1999; 99:544-52. PubMed
  • Ebbeling CB, Rodriguez NR. Effects of exercise combined with diet therapy on protein utilization in obese children. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1999; 31:378-85. PubMed
  • Ebbeling CB, Rodriguez NR. Effects of reduced energy intake on protein utilization in obese children. Metabolism 1998; 47:1434-9. PubMed
  • Brown DR, Wang Y, Ward A, Ebbeling CB, Fortlage L, Puleo E, Benson H, Rippe JM. Chronic psychological effects of exercise and exercise plus cognitive strategies. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1995; 27:765-75. PubMed
  • Ebbeling CJ, Hamill J, Crussemeyer JA. Lower extremity mechanics and energy cost of walking in high-heeled shoes. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 1994; 19:190-6. PubMed
  • Widrick J, Ward A, Ebbeling C, Clemente E, Rippe JM. Treadmill validation of an over-ground walking test to predict peak oxygen consumption. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol 1992; 64:304-8. PubMed
  • Ebbeling CB, Ward A, Puleo EM, Widrick J, Rippe JM. Development of a single-stage submaximal treadmill walking test. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1991; 23:966-73. PubMed
  • Ebbeling CB, Clarkson PM. Muscle adaptation prior to recovery following eccentric exercise. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol 1990; 60:26-31. PubMed
  • Porcari JP, Ebbeling CB, Ward A, Freedson PS, Rippe JM. Walking for exercise testing and training. Sports Med 1989; 8:189-200. PubMed
  • Ebbeling CB, Clarkson PM. Exercise-induced muscle damage and adaptation. Sports Med 1989; 7:207-34. PubMed
  • Clarkson PM, Ebbeling C. Investigation of serum creatine kinase variability after muscle-damaging exercise. Clin Sci (Lond) 1988; 75:257-61. PubMed