Whether low-carb or low-fat diet is better for weight loss
Feb 22, 2018, 00:51
After a year, "there was no significant difference in weight change between a healthy low-fat diet vs a healthy low-carbohydrate diet", said the report. The answer, in both cases, was no.
"We've all heard stories of a friend who went on one diet - it worked great - and then another friend tried the same diet, and it didn't work at all", he said. On average, weight loss was 13 pounds by the end of one year for low-carb dieters, while it was an average of 12 pounds for those who did low-fat diets. Researchers also examined whether and genotype pattern or insulin secretion are related to the dietary effects on weight loss.
The results suggest that "precision medicine is not as important as eating mindfully, getting rid of packaged, processed food" and avoiding unhealthy habits like eating while watching television, said lead author Christopher Gardner. About half were men and half were women. And, in the end, there probably won't be one factor that predicts a person's success on diet, it will be a set of factors, collectively, that will point a dieter in the right direction.
Gardner discusses the results of the study in the video below. The group might have moderate weight loss, but the individuals in the group could see anything from extreme weight loss to weight gain. The participants underwent a variety of measurements and tests, including their weight, BMI, insulin response to glucose, and tests for genetic variants linked to diet response.
The individuals began by limiting their daily carbohydrate or fat intake to 20 grams for the first eight weeks.
After the second month, the research team told the groups to make small adjustments as needed, adding back five to 15 grams of fat or carbs gradually, in a bid to reach a balance they believed they could maintain for the rest of their lives.
The participants weren't told to cut their energy intake, but that ended up happening anyway: at the end of the 12 months they were eating 500-600 calories less every day, just by focusing on eating nutrition-packed foods. In all, 241 participants on the low-fat diet and 238 individuals on the low-carb diet finished the study. "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.
They found both groups lost weight equally well, averaging around 6kg.
Gene activity is undoubtedly involved in the process of gaining and losing weight, this study simply shows that these particular predisposing variants (many others have also been identified) are now unable to lead us toward personalized, magic wand diet plans.
Despite the similar overall averages, the researchers found huge individual variations in weight loss among the subjects and, interestingly, none of the variations correlated with either specific genotypes or a person's baseline insulin levels. "But let's cut to the chase: We didn't replicate [our previous] study, we didn't even come close". Gardner and colleagues now want to investigate the microbiome, epigenetics, or a different gene expression pattern they've yet to figure out for clues that might explain the drastic variability. And regardless of your diet, choose to eat less sugar, less refine flout and as many vegetables as possible. Go for whole foods, whether that is a wheatberry salad or grass-fed beef.
Participants who lost the most weight reported that this approach reshaped their relationship with food and made them more thoughtful about how they ate, he added.
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