Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Oh No Another Low-Carb versus Low Fat Diet Study!

Last week, sorry the start of a semester can be crazy, another study came out looking at which diet yields more weight loss. The results pointed to the benefits of the low-carb diet But there are some question marks.

The study, which appeared in the Annals of Internal Medicine, was a 12 month randomized, parallel design study, meaning that two different groups followed similar study trial plans with the only difference being the type of diet they followed. At the end of the 12 months the results showed about an 11 pound weight loss for those on the low-carb diet and a 4 pound loss for those on the low-fat diet.

The study did have some limitations so the outcome may not be generalizable to the everyday "real" world. The limitations were 1) diet information came from recall of food consumed, which is of course very subject to memory lapses. 2) the dietitians who collected the recall information knew which subjects were on which diet and even though they followed a standard method, this could impact data collection. Finally, 3) the study also looked at heart health parameters but did not go long enough to see if the diets had any impact on heart health.

So what does all this mean.
1 - we still don't know if or what the "perfect" weight loss diet might be
2 - both diets averaged close to 1500 calories at the end but during the study the low-fat diet often was at a higher calorie level - so was it the calories
3 - weight loss should be a lifestyle focus, not a diet focus

If you need help finding the right diet for health - and a healthy weight - contact a Registered Dietitian (RD). If you are a WUSTL student you can meet with a Registered Dietitian in Student Health. If you are not a student you can find an RD at www.eatright.org

Connie Diekman, M.Ed., RD, CSSD, LD

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