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Diet comparison study

Results of a two year long Harvard research study comparing 4 different diets has been published.

Those people who cut back on calories overall, regardless of the specific diet, lost weight.

The four different diets

A group of 811 overweight and obese men and women, were randomly divided into the following four diet groups:

  • 1. Low fat and average protein diet. (20% of calories from fat, 15% of calories from protein, 65% of calories from carbohydrate)
  • 2. Low fat and high protein diet. (20% fat, 25% protein, 55% carbohydrate)
  • 3. High fat and average protein diet. (40% fat, 15% protein, 45% carbohydrate)
  • 4. High fat and high protein diet. (40% fat, 25% protein, 35% carbohydrate)

All four diet groups ate heart health foods (low in saturated fat and cholesterol) and included 20 grams of dietary fiber a day. The average calories consumed per day was 1,200 to 2,400 calories.

The diet comparison results

The researchers weighed the participants over the 2 year period, to find that all four groups lost about the same number of pounds.

At six months, the average total weight loss for all of the groups was 13 pounds (6.5kgs). However, by the end of 2 years it had decreased to nine pounds (4kgs).

The main finding from the trial was that diets with different variations of carbohydrate, fat and protein levels all achieved weight loss over a 2 year period.

It shows that if people follow a heart healthy, reduced calorie diet, then weight loss will be achieve regardless of the specific diet.

What the researchers said …

Study co-author Dr Loria from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute in Bethesda said, “Reduced calorie, heart-healthy diets can help you lose weight, regardless of the proportions of fat, protein and carbohydrates.”

“This study dispels the long-held idea that a low-fat diet has an advantage over other diets,” added Christopher Gardner, from the Stanford University School of Medicine.

The results were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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