Medicine

Low fat diet as effective as low carb for losing weight

Low fat diet as effective as low carb for losing weight

It was a large and expensive trial, carried out on more than 600 people with $8 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health, the Nutrition Science Initiative and other groups.

Scientists studied the effects low fat versus and low carbohydrate diet over one year in overweight and obese individuals.

"The bottom line: Diet quality is important for both weight control and long-term well-being", Nutritionist Christopher Gardner of Stanford and study co-author told The New York Times. A growing number of services have capitalized on this idea by offering people personalized nutrition advice tailored to their genotypes. There are five "low-fat" and nine "low-carb" genotypes that are hypothesized to predispose a person to success on those diets. Everyone attended nutrition education classes about minimally-processed foods.

Soft drinks, fruit juice, muffins, white rice and white bread are technically low in fat, for example, but the low-fat group was told to avoid those things and eat foods like brown rice, barley, steel-cut oats, lentils, lean meats, low-fat dairy products, quinoa, fresh fruit and legumes.

Go for whole foods, whether that is a wheatberry salad or grass-fed beef. Instead of putting limits on calorie intake, Gardner said researchers instructed participants to focus on eating as much whole or "real" foods as they needed to avoid feeling hungry. Previous studies have also claimed the overweight people are more likely to have risk of Type-2 diabetes. "They suck", Gardner told NBC News.

A brand new study is hoping to answer some controversial questions regarding the eternal "low carb vs. low fat" debate.

The authors thus concluded, meant that both diets were equally effective for weight loss.

Some dropped upward of 60 pounds, while others gained close to 15 or 20 pounds.

"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", Gardner noted.

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What seemed to help people lose weight was following a single strategy: eat less sugar, less refined flour, and as many vegetables and whole foods as possible.

That said, when comparing the low-carb group and the low-fat group, the team found very similar results. "And those low-carb chips - don't buy them, because they're still chips and that's gaming the system'". The startling insights came as a surprise to many. "And months into the study they said, 'Thank you!"

It's often considered common knowledge that in order to lose weight, you should start by reducing your calorie intake.

On average, weight loss among the low-carb participants was 13 pounds by the end of the year.

The researchers took DNA samples from each subject and analyzed a group of genetic variants that influence fat and carbohydrate metabolism.

The findings, published this week in the academic journal JAMA, showed that dieting individuals who reduced their consumption of added sugars, highly processed foods and refined grains while focusing on increasing their vegetables and whole foods, lost significant amounts of weight over the course of a year without counting calories or limiting the size of portions. Higher insulin levels are associated with insulin resistance. But a study Tuesday found neither approach is better than the other.

You may have noticed there has been no mention of the diet's effect on exercise; participants were just told to maintain their habitual physical activity level for the duration of the study.

Gardner said it is not that calories do not matter. It all comes down to consuming fewer calories.


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