Wednesday, 26 September, 2018

Is a low-carb or low-fat diet more effective?

Is a low-carb or low-fat diet more effective? Is a low-carb or low-fat diet more effective?
Isabel Fisher | 22 February, 2018, 01:19

One of the companies that sells DNA tests that promise to guide customers to the most-likely-to-succeed diet, Pathway Genomics, did not respond to requests for comment.

At the end of the study period, the researchers found varying results. In fact it's not the diet that you should be mindful of, but your body.

"This closes the door on the possibility that the. genotype pattern we tested would be useful", said lead study author Christopher Gardner of Stanford University in California. "It's because we're all very different, and we're just starting to understand the reasons for this diversity".

Asked for her perspective, Reshmi Srinath, MD, director of the Weight and Metabolism Management Program at Mount Sinai Hospital and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, who was not involved with the study, told MedPage Today, "The weight loss results are comparable to prior studies where we see weight loss really is dependent on compliance rather than the diet itself".

Dr Gardener's study also found that a person's genetics or insulin metabolism is not necessarily a discriminating factor when it comes to a diet's effectiveness, despite the advent and popularity of DNA diets in the weight loss industry now.

In the initial eight weeks of the study, participants were told to limit their daily carbohydrate or fat intake to just 20 grams, which is about what can be found in a 1.5 slices of whole wheat bread or in a generous handful of nuts, respectively.

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.


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

The low-fat group was initially encouraged to cut down to 20g a day of fat, and the low-carb group to 20g a day of carbohydrates.

People were remarkably compliant about following their assigned low-fat or low-carb diet. It's worth noting that average fat consumption for the participants before the study started was around 87 grams a day, and average carbohydrate intake was about 247 grams. "Also, we advised them to diet in a way that didn't make them feel hungry or deprived - otherwise it's hard to maintain the diet in the long run", said Gardner in a statement. About 30% of people in the study group had a genetic signature that, in theory, should have pointed to success on the low-fat diet, while 40% had a low-carb "profile". Individuals in both groups also showed improvements in other important health markers such as reduced body fat, lower blood sugar, improved blood pressure levels and decreased waist size.

The results showed that individuals in the two groups had lost, on an average, 13 pounds. There was still, however, enormous weight loss variability among them. Some of the participants lost as much as 60 pounds, while others even gained weight.

Interestingly enough, those who lost the most weight didn't do so by cutting macros.

"One both sides, we heard from people who had lost the most weight that we had helped them change their relationship to food, and that now they were more thoughtful about how they ate". They were also given common-sense advice about eating more vegetables and whole grains and less fatty and sugary junk food.

Moving forward, he and his team will continue to analyse the data collected to uncover what is behind individual weight loss.

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