Does the LCHF diet make people lose weight?

2014-08-12 00:00

SOCIAL media is flooded with testimonials from people who have lost weight on the LCHF diet, and even Noakes’s fiercest opponents concede that people lose weight — initially.

But a systematic review that compared weight loss on low carbohydrate diets with balanced diets found that the two diet types resulted in the same end result over a longer period.

The systematic review of the two types of diets by Stellenbosch University (SU) was published in the respected scientific journal PLOS ONE.

The researchers found that people achieved the same weight loss on both the low carb and balanced diets.

The Noakes-style “Banting” diets that drastically restrict carbohydrate intake in favour of fats resulted in weight loss by restricting how much food people eat — not by lowering how many carbohydrates they ate.

“When the amount of energy consumed by people following the low carbohydrate and balanced diets was similar, there was no difference in weight loss,” said lead researcher Dr Celeste Naude, from the Centre for Evidence-based Health Care at SU’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.

But Noakes criticised this research for including low carb diets with carbohydrate allowances of up to 200 g a day, saying that they could not be compared to his version of the low carb diet that only allows 50 g of carbohydrates a day.

However, researchers at the Federal University of Alagoas in Brazil did a similar study, but only used diets allowing up to 50 g of carbohydrates a day. Their study, published last year in the British Journal of Nutrition, showed very similar results to that of the SU review. After one year, dieters on the low carb diet had lost 910 g (less than a kilogram) more than subjects following the balanced weight loss diet, and after two years, there were no difference between these diets.

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