Low-fat vs. low-carb diets

By admin
04 September 2014

The year-long study found that those on low-carb diets lost more weight than those on low-fat diets, in addition to reducing their waist circumference.

When it comes to diets, the world really is your oyster. There are versions for those who only want to eat meat, plans depending on your blood type or, if you want to get a bit new age, routines based on the moon's cycle. But with so many on offer, how are you supposed to know whether munching on cabbage soup will help you drop pounds, or if you should be stocking up on maple syrup and cayenne pepper? Step forward a group of scientists who have done the work for you.

America's National Institutes of Health has funded a study which was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine journal this week. It took 148 adults who were observed over the course of a year; some were on a low-fat diet and others on a low-carbohydrate one. The low-fat people ate less than 30 per cent total fat a day, focusing on food like grains, starches and vegetables. The other group had around 40 grams of carbs a day and ate mostly high-protein meals full of eggs, tuna, red meat and vegetables.

In the end, those on the low-carb plan had lost more weight and fat than the others - around eight pounds more on average. It was also found that the low-fat people had actually lost more muscle than fat. On top of this, the low-carb bunch also had more good cholesterol and a decreased risk of heart disease - and this was even though they had actually been eating more saturated fat than guidelines recommend.

Researchers have also found that people on low-carb diets tend to see their waist circumference reduce.

However before you jump on the low-carb bandwagon, it's worth taking something else into consideration. The Journal of the American Medical Association has analysed a number of diets and found that, while those who cut carbs might lose more weight, sticking to a low-fat eating plan also benefits health and helps reduce weight. It found that both choices result in a significant change to the scale, with not much difference between the two. So in actual fact, you're probably best sticking to whichever you find easiest to adapt to your life. That way, it'll become the norm and much easier to maintain.

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