Low-Carb and Low-Fat Diets Equally Effective For Losing Weight


The study enrolled 609 people - 57 percent women - aged 18 to 50 and randomly assigned them to either a low-fat or low-carb diet for a year. Turns out, both won.

"On both sides, we heard from people who had lost the most weight that we had helped them change their relationship to food, and that now they were more thoughtful about how they ate", said Gardner.

Of the total cohort, 40% had a low-fat genotype and 30% had a low-carb genotype; 481 participants completed the study.

The amount and quality of food a person consumes, and not a person's genetics, will lead to weight loss, a United States study has found. He said the most important message of the study was that a "high quality diet" produced substantial weight loss and that the percentage of calories from fat or carbs did not matter, which is consistent with other studies, including many that show that eating healthy fats and carbs can help prevent heart disease, diabetes and other diseases. It found that people who cut back on added sugar, refined grains and highly processed foods while concentrating on eating plenty of vegetables and whole foods - without worrying about counting calories or limiting portion sizes - lost significant amounts of weight over the course of a year. "By becoming engrossed in counting calories and restricting our food intake, which is often what a diet requires us to do, it means becoming more and more confused in regards to what it means to be healthy".

When it comes to losing weight, there's only one thing people want to know: What is the best diet for dropping those extra pounds? Go for whole foods, whether that is a wheatberry salad or grass-fed beef. The participants' insulin levels were also taken. Also, some people lost as much as 60 pounds and others gained 15 pounds - more evidence that genetic characteristics and diet type appeared to make no difference.

Over the 12-month period, researchers tracked the progress of participants, logging information about weight, body composition, baseline insulin levels and how many grams of fat or carbohydrate they consumed daily. Nor were people with genetic variations linked to a low-carb diet response more likely to lose weight on a low-carb diet. "Also, we advised them to diet in a way that didn't make them feel hungry or deprived-otherwise it's hard to maintain the diet in the long run", said Gardner.

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Perhaps the biggest takeaway from this study, Gardner said, is that the fundamental strategy for losing weight with either a low-fat or a low-carb approach is similar.

"While most diets work, the real challenge is sticking with them". Blood cholesterol including LDL cholesterol was significantly lowered in the HLF diet but triglycerides were lowered in both groups.

Moving forward, he and his team will continue to analyze the reams of data collected during the yearlong study, and they hope to partner with scientists across Stanford to uncover keys to individual weight loss.

"It would have been sweet to say we have a simple clinical test that will point out whether you're insulin resistant or not and whether you should eat more or less carbs", he added.

"The bottom line: Diet quality is important for both weight control and long-term well-being", Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the nutrition department at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told The New York Times.

Paying attention to the quality of the food is more effective for weight loss than religiously counting calories, according to a new study. At first glance, that finding seems to fly in the face of recent scientific wisdom on diet and health, which has begun to recommend welcoming fatty foods like butter and eggs back into our diets and curbing our intake of sugar and carbohydrates like rice and bread. "We really need to focus on that foundational diet, which is more vegetables, more whole foods, less added sugar and less refined grains".