Is that right? Low-carb and low-fat diets equal for weight loss
A study published recently in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that a low-carb diet has an edge over a low-fat one for improving cardiovascular health, but either approach can result in similar weight loss.
In this (admittedly, by the study's authors) very small study in which participant attrition was high,153 obese people followed an Atkins-style low-carb diet while 154 followed a low-fat, calorie-restricted regimen, both for two years. Both groups received lifestyle intervention counseling, learning to engage in more physical activity and such.
While at intermediate checkpoints the low-carb group saw modest improvements in such cardio-disease risk factors as diastolic blood pressure and triglyceride levels, in the end the only real difference between the two was a substantial boost in heart-healthy HDL cholesterol among the low-carb dieters.
After two years, both groups -- whose numbers had diminished by 32 percent in the low-fat group and 42 percent in the low-carb -- had lost about the same amount of weight. But while both groups had lost about 11 percent of their body weight at 12 months, both groups also regained weight between that time and the end of the 24-month study, when the loss was just 7 percent of initial body weight -- about 15 pounds.
Of course, every little bit helps. But think what that says: People following either a low-carb or a low-fat diet actually GAINED weight after the first year. Am I the only one who finds that depressing?
Jennifer LaRue Huget
August 13, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories: Cardiovascular Health , Chronic Conditions , Is That Right? , Nutrition and Fitness
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