Weight loss similar with healthy low-fat, low-carbohydrate diets

In a face-off between a low-fat and a low-carbohydrate diet, neither reigned supreme.

Dr Rosemary Stanton, a leading Australian nutritionist at the school of medical sciences department of the University of New South Wales reported that the novel study has now revealed the potential benefits of consuming better, healthy diet that includes a plenty of vegetables. It all depends on the person - although they haven't yet been able to determine the all important characteristics that determine which camp you fall into.

"It's because we're all different, and we're just starting to understand the reasons for this diversity".

"People who did the best credit us with helping them change their relationship with food", he says, regardless of the type of diet they were on.

Gardner and his team of researchers assessed 609 overweight adults across the United Kingdom with ages ranging from 18 to 50 years over a period of 12 months.

About half were men and half were women.

"We wanted them to choose a low-fat or low-carb diet plan that they could potentially follow forever, rather than a diet that they'd drop when the study ended", Gardner said.

Similarly, there was also no interaction between the extent of weight loss after a year with diet-insulin secretion (INS-30) (ß 0.08, -0.13 to 0.28, P=0.47).

In the HLF group, 42.6% of participants had the low-fat genotype, while 27.2% had the low-carb genotype. There was virtually no difference in weight loss between the two groups after 12 months: 11.7 pounds in the low-fat group and 13.2 in the low-carb one, a difference that was not statistically significant or meaningful in real life. Also, some people lost as much as 60 pounds and others gained 15 pounds - more evidence that genetic characteristics and diet type appeared to make no difference. He's also keen for people to eat more "whole foods" too, whether that's a wheat berry salad or grass-fed beef.

Researchers from the Stanford University had this premise in mind when they studied over 600 overweight adults who were placed on genetic and insulin testing before being randomly assigned to reduce either fat or carb intake.

So what's the takeaway from this study, other than "eat less" or "eat healthy"? In the healthy low-carbohydrate diet group, 37.5% had the low-fat genotype and 31.9% had the low-carbohydrate genotype.

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.

"There is consistent evidence that calorie restriction benefits weight loss", Qi, who wasn't involved in the study, said by email. "But let's cut to the chase: We didn't replicate that study, we didn't even come close".

The study participants were not told to count calories or anything, but had to limit either their fat or carbohydrate intake. "I feel like we owe it to Americans to be smarter than to just say 'eat less.' I still think there is an opportunity to discover some personalization to it - now we just need to work on tying the pieces together".