Low-Fat, Low-Carb Diet Study Shows They Work About the Same

Which Is Better for Weight Loss, a Low-Fat Diet or a Low-Carb Diet?

In fact it's not the diet that you should be mindful of, but your body.

Commenting on the latest study, Dr Hannah Wardill, a NHMRC CJ Martin Biomedical Research Fellow at the University of Adelaide, says the results show that low-fat and low-carbohydrate diets make no difference to overall weight loss.

Researchers also looked to see whether participants had a particular genotype - a certain combination of the PPARG, ADRB2 and FABP2 genes - that some previous studies have linked to better results on either a low-fat or low-carb diet. "It's not so much about that food - it's really about [changing] this insane way that Americans eat".

Study participants were not told to count calories, but rather to restrict either fat intake or carb intake. Some dieters swear by plans that eliminate grains, fruits and other carbohydrates, while others defend diets that cut down on red meat, dairy and other fatty foods. There was no calorie limit, just a focus on the types of foods they had to eat less of. No restrictions were made on total calories.

Irrespective of which diet they were put on, study participants were instructed (under a dietitian's eye) to eat "high-quality foods and beverages" and follow a few simple guidelines: eat whole foods, less sugar and refined grains, and as many vegetables as possible. They did this with the help of the experts.

"I had this whole rationale for why these three [DNA variants] would have an effect", Gardner says in an interview with Stat News. For those on the low-carb plan, a typical breakfast was three or four scrambled eggs and black coffee with cream.

A new study helmed by Dr Christopher Gardener, a professor of medicine at Stanford University, has analysed which diet - low-carb or low-fat - is more effective, when it comes to weight loss.

Blood tests to track insulin levels also failed to identify any underlying metabolic predisposition towards weight loss or gain while dieting.

People were remarkably compliant about following their assigned low-fat or low-carb diet. For instance, it was proposed that people with greater insulin resistance may do better following a diet low in most carbohydrates because of the decreased demand on insulin.

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"That does not close the door on the possibility that there are other genotype "signatures" or patterns that could be useful", Gardner said by email.

By the end of the study, individuals in the two groups had lost, on average, 13 pounds.

"If it says low-fat on the package, think: They're brownies!"

Gardner discusses the results of the study in the video below. After, they were allowed to increase their consumption to more manageable amounts for the remainder of the study.

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. 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. What might have worked differently for the more successful losers?

"While it would be nice to find a way to determine the best diet for an individual, from this research it is clear that we aren't there yet", she said.

'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.

Disclosure s : The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.

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