Is a low-fat diet really helpful in promoting weight loss? A recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine revealed that a low-carb diet, not a low-fat one, is the key to losing weight.
The study was collaboratively penned by ten authors from various medical and academic institutions in the United States, from a grant support provided by the National Center for Research Resources of the National Institutes of Health to the Tulane University Hypertension and Renal Center of Excellence.
The main objective of the study was to "examine the effects of a low-carbohydrate diet compared with a low-fat diet on body weight and cardiovascular risk factors", as indicated in the published journal article. One hundred forty eight men and women comprised the sample; these participants were guaranteed to have no clinical cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The researchers measured their weight, cardiovascular risk factors, and dietary composition, from the beginning of the study, after 3 months, 6 months, and 12 months throughout the study.
The results revealed that individuals who followed a low-carb diet for a year significantly lost more weight and fat, compared to those who followed a low-fat diet.
Such a difference was noted, despite the fact that throughout the study, both groups engaged in similar exercise and fitness activities and consumed more or less the same amount of calories. They also underwent the same nutritional counseling for the whole year of the research endeavor, along with follow-ups and interviews regarding detailed lists of what the participants ate. Both low-fat and low-carb groups displayed a decline in bad cholesterol (LDL) levels, yet the group following the low-carb diet exhibited significantly higher boosts in good cholesterol levels (HDL).
According to Dr. Lydia Bassano, one of the researchers, the low-carb group experienced the benefits of weight loss due to the higher proportion of their fiber intake, which assists in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol.