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Low Fat and Low Carb Diets May Yield Similar Weight Loss Results

A recent study suggests that both a healthy, low-fat diet and a healthy, low-carbohydrate diet may lead to the same amount of weight loss. The study also found that there were no significant differences between diet-insulin or diet-genotype interactions.


Participants in the study included 609 overweight people who were instructed to follow either a healthy, low-fat diet or a healthy, low-carbohydrate diet for 12 months. The researchers performed a genetic analysis at the beginning of the study and also measured baseline insulin secretion.


Over the first two months, the participants were limited to either 20 grams per day of fat or carbohydrates. They then added back successive increments of 5 to 15 grams per day of fat or carbs until they achieved a level that felt sustainable over the long term.


At the conclusion of the study, the low fat group had an average fat intake of 57 grams per day, while the low carb diet had an average 132 grams of carbs per day. In comparison, their pre-study intakes were 87 grams per day and 247 grams per day, respectively. The low fat group had an average weight loss of approximately 11.7 lbs, while the low carb group had an average weight loss of approximately 13.2 lbs.


While both groups had lower blood pressure, insulin, and glucose levels, they showed different blood lipid changes. The low fat group had reductions in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, while the low carb group actually had increases. Additionally, the low carb group had a 15% higher decrease in triglyceride levels compared to the low fat group.


Researchers from Stanford University Medical Center led the study. It was published on February 20, 2018, in JAMA.

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