Whether low-carb or low-fat diet is better for weight loss

Whether low-carb or low-fat diet is better for weight loss

Whether low-carb or low-fat diet is better for weight loss

According to the DIETFITS (Diet Intervention Examining The Factors Interacting with Treatment Success) trial, weight loss after 12 months was similar between the diet types, with an average weight loss of 11.68 pounds for the healthy low-fat (HLF) diet and 12.23 pounds for the healthy low-carbohydrate group (HLC) (mean between-group difference, 1.54 pounds, 95% CI -0.44 to 3.53 pounds).

The trend of tailoring diets to suit people's genetic make-up is set to be short-lived, with the latest evidence suggesting genes have nothing to do with weight loss. It all depends on the person - although they haven't yet been able to determine the all important characteristics that determine which camp you fall into. ‘It's because we're all very different and we're just starting to understand the reasons'.

"We made sure to tell everybody, regardless of which diet they were on, to go to the farmer's market, and don't buy processed convenience food".

Gardner and his team of researchers assessed 609 overweight adults with ages ranging from 18 to 50 years old over the course of 12 months. About half were men and half were women.

She says: "There are pros and cons of both low carb and low fat diets but the fundamental take home message should focus on the commonalties of the two diets, i.e. what the participants were advised to eat, aside from restricting either carbs or fat". Each group was instructed to maintain the diet for one year.

Before the study started, the average fat consumption for the participants was around 87 grams a day, and average carbohydrate intake was about 247 grams.

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After that they added back five to 15 grammes of fat or carbs gradually, aiming to reach a balance they believed they could maintain for the rest of their lives. While people on average lost a significant amount of weight in the study, there was also wide variability in both groups. Similarly, a few women whose DNA did not "match" went through a divorce or other upheaval, ate for emotional comfort, gained weight, and made the mismatched group look bad - a reminder that so many emotional, economic, metabolic, social, and other forces affect someone's chance of losing weight that the effect of genes gets lost in the noise.

"I had this whole rationale for why these three [DNA variants] would have an effect", said Stanford's Christopher Gardner, co-author of the $8 million study. Go for whole foods, whether that is a wheatberry salad or grass-fed beef. The volunteers got 22 hourlong classes with dietitians on healthy low-fat diets (eat less oils, fatty meats, full-fat dairy, and nuts) or low-carb ones (reduce cereals, grains, rice, starchy vegetables, and legumes), as well as on the dangers of eating mindlessly.

Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the nutrition department at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said the study did not support a "precision medicine" approach to nutrition, but that future studies would be likely to look at many other genetic factors that could be significant.

"The main limitation seems to be the report of physical activity and diet, but they tried to overcome this by using the Nutrition Data system for research for all diet recall", Srinath continued. As such, Gardener advises people to eat less sugar, less refined flour and as many vegetables as possible.

"We wanted them to choose a low-fat or low-carb diet plan that they could potentially follow forever, rather than a diet that they'd drop when the study ended", Gardner said. If you've ever dieted, chances are you'll have followed either a low-carb (Atkins) or low-fat plan.

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