Published: Thu, February 22, 2018
Health Care | By Oscar Goodwin

Is this the final word on low-fat versus low-carb?

Is this the final word on low-fat versus low-carb?

Scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine chose to investigate whether following a healthy low-carb diet would be more or less effective for someone trying to lose weight than following a healthy low-fat diet, with their research leading to fascinating results.

We asked: "Why is there this ongoing debate about the merits of low-carb and low-fat diets for weight loss?".

"Carbohydrates have been deemed "fattening" and "unhealthy" when in actual fact, the science behind carbohydrates is quite complex, and demonising an entire food group is not wise", warns Rhiannon Lambert, leading Harley Street nutritionist and author of Re-Nourish: A Simple Way To Eat Well. To give more reliable results, the study would need to randomise people according to their genetic or insulin status.

The people who lost the most weight said it wasn't so much what they ate, as how they thought about food. The most successful dieters, regardless of which group they were assigned to, credited their achievement to a reframed relationship with food - that is, they began eating more mindfully, cooking at home more often and focusing on whole foods.

At the end of the year, people on a low-fat diet reported a daily average fat intake of 57 grams while those on low-carb diets consumed about 132 grams of carbs per day.

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LDLC was found to increase in the low-carb group over 12 months.

The average amount of weight lost across both groups over the duration of the 12 months was 13 pounds. "In the context of these two common weight-loss diet approaches, neither of the two hypothesized predisposing factors was helpful in identifying which diet was better for whom". Earlier research suggested that these variants could predict who would successfully lose weight on which kind of diet.

Stanford University researchers wanted to know whether a person's DNA ultimately affects how efficiently they lose weight when given the right type of diet. That was the case for 97 of the 180 people with the low-carb genotype.

Although no diet is better than another, researchers say the fundamental strategy for weight loss is consuming less sugar, less refined flour and eating more vegetables. Their body mass index was between 28 and 40 and underwent genetic and insulin testing.

"I had this whole rationale for why these three [DNA variants] would have an effect", said Dr Gardner to Stat News.

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The group was composed of people between the ages of 18 and 50, and around six out of 10 were women. "I'm hoping that we can come up with signatures of sorts", he said.

"Whichever diet you prefer could work", Dr. Gardner, PhD, indicating this was one key finding from the studypublished in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

This study also looked specifically at the subjects' genetics when it comes to metabolizing fat and carbohydrates, as well as, how their bodies secrete insulin and found that neither of those things seemed to matter when it came to weight loss with the two different diets.

Moe than 600 individuals participated in the study, which was backed with $8 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health and other groups.

The findings, published in JAMA today, also showed variations with participants losing up to 60 pounds in a year while others actually gained weight.

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