Low fat diets are often promoted as a superior way to lose weight, but they’re no more effective than other types of diets, a new review indicates.
“We found that low fat diets were not more effective than higher fat diets for long term weight loss,” said study leader Deirdre Tobias, an associate epidemiologist at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
The key to success seems to have more to do with adherence than a specific weight-loss plan, Tobias said. “Being able to stick to a diet in the long term will probably predict whether or not a diet is successful for weight loss,” she said.
The new analysis was published online Oct. 30 in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology journal. The research was supported by the American Diabetes Association and the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
In conducting their analysis, Tobias and her colleagues looked at 53 published studies involving more than 68,000 adults. Those on low-fat diets did lose weight. But, those on low-carbohydrate diets were slightly more than 2 pounds lighter than those on low-fat diets after a follow-up of at least one year. The average weight loss across all groups was 6 pounds, the researchers said.
“The conclusion from this, and similar studies, is that weight loss is not a results of limiting one calorie nutrient over another, and that achieving weight loss is likely a matter of calorie control, in a manner that works for the individual,” said Connie Diekman, director of university nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis.
Add physical activity to your daily routine, she added, and think about weight loss as part of your long-term health goals, and not just a quick fix.
We have an entire generation raised on the misnomer that fat is bad. It’s all related to the myth that high cholesterol causes heart disease. The key is not avoiding fat, but to eat healthy fat – use butter, not margarine, eat an egg, not an egg white. The fats to avoid are trans-fats (like Crisco) and rancid fats (like lard). The more you process the food, the less healthy the food.
Highly processed foods are, with few exceptions, very high in refined carbohydrates. These empty calories (devoid of micronutrients), liberated from the fiber they were bound to in living plants, enter the blood stream too quickly. This stimulates excessive insulin release from the pancreas resulting in insulin resistance and eventually diabetes.
The Bottom Line:
Maintaining (or reaching) your ideal weight is best achieved by eating a diet that is rich in raw fruits and vegetables (about 50% of your intake), adequate protein intake (3 servings per day) and some healthy fats (from lean meats, fish, seeds nuts, olive oil and butters). Combine the diet with 7 hours of exercise per week (average 1 hour daily) and your caloric burn will meet or exceed your intake.
Source: October 29, 2015 National Institutes of Health