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Low-carb diet beats low-fat diet

Results from a 2 year study of over 300 participants, that compared a low-carb diet to a low-fat diet, have just been released.

Weight loss between the two diets was approximately the same, however, people on the low-carb diet had lower blood pressure and better cholesterol levels than those on the low-fat diet.

A summary of the study can be found on the Annals of Internal Medicine website. For more reports on the study, please see: Yahoo, Medical News Today, and WebMD.

The dogma that low-fat diets are the only way to go is slowly being chipped away. Kellie wrote about a study that found that weight loss was no greater on low-fat diets, but this study goes further than that. Personally I have no doubt that high quality fats are good for you, and I have plenty of olive oil in my diet, and have recently made sure I get plenty of omega-3 oils, and even some coconut oil.

The amount of carbohydrates that the people on the low-carb diet ate was only 20 grams per day. 20 grams per day is not a lot. 1/3 of a cup of oats is 20 grams of carbohydrate.

Over the years, the common wisdom has been that while low-carb diets work when it comes to weight loss, they are somehow unhealthy. This study shows that is a bad assumption.

My diet – the “low starch/sugar carb” diet

I have never been on a low-carb diet myself, but I imagine that limiting carbohydrate intake to only 20 grams a day would be a tough challenge.

While I have never eaten a low-carb diet, over the past few years, my diet has changed in that I now rarely eat starchy carbohydrate foods such as potatoes, bread, rice and pasta, and I try to avoid processed foods that contain refined carbohydrate and added sugar. I used to love these kinds of foods when I was younger, but I have found that eating less makes me feel better and less hungry. I still eat plenty of carbohydrates, because I eat plenty of vegetables.

Back in April, a regular commenter on this blog (John S.) left some comments on the polyunsaturated fats story, recommending amongst other things, increasing the intake of Omega 3 fats.

I took John’s advice and have since been eating what is known as an anti-inflammatory diet. A quick overview of an anti-inflammatory diet can be found on the Cooling Inflammation website, and a more detailed description on Dr. Weil’s website.

The Cooling Inflammation blog is written by a guy with a Phd in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology. It is very technical in places, but also has lots of very practical posts examining the effect that diet has on health such as; How your diet makes you sick, Simple remedies, Medical advice wrong, and Low carbs lowers triglycerides. The author, Dr. Art Ayers, argues that inflammation is the cause of many of the modern diseases, and that bad diets cause inflammation.

Personally I have never felt better. I have more energy and have lost weight. So eating less carbs has definitely worked for me!

Thanks to John S. for bringing this story to my attention.

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5 Responses to “Low-carb diet beats low-fat diet”

  1. NotThePest says:

    I was formerly very active on a forum hosting by the ADA (American Diabetes Association) and for years there were people praising low carb diets for keeping their blood glucose levels under control without medications as well as lowering their high cholesterol numbers. This went against the recommendations and recipes that could be found on the host site. Arguments, flaming arguments, broke out amongst fellow forum participants taking sides. There were three groups: The ones in the middle, the ones going against their doctors’ recommendation and the sites – low carb, and those that followed the higher carb suggestions by the host site and the greater medical community. The ones following the low carb were called extremist. (The good ole days that I don’t miss.) All this went on despite a supposed motto: YMMV (Your millage may vary) LOL!

    This posting has brought back memories.

  2. John S says:

    I used to send out mailings to my neighbors as a donation to the American Diabetes Association (ADA) for their fund drives. Several years ago when I became enlightened on this subject I told the nice lady that called to see if I would help that year that I would not help anymore until the ADA stopped recommending a diet that cause premature death in diabetics eating such a carb-loaded diet. She was shocked and I never heard back. I guess I’m an extremist! LOL But even better than that I do know that it’s stupid for a diabetic to eat breads, rice, pasta, cakes, sugary foods, etc and think they can just use oral medications or insulin to stay healthy. Remember, high insulin levels contribute to all of the chronic diseases of aging – obesity, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, hypertension, dyslipidemia, etc.

    Many of you lay people must wonder why the medical associations that are supposed to be helping patients appear to do just the opposite. That’s a really good question and I don’t have a clear answer. However, I can tell you that doctors just love to get new diabetic patients because they are a very good income source for the doctors for so long as the patients live. I’m usually not a conspiracy theorist but this has to be part of it. Another part involves the fact that most medical doctors are misinformed about the biochemistry and healthfulness of a low carb diet. Fat, alone, is not the problem. It’s low fat that is definitely, indisputably a harmful diet. Combine fat and high levels of sugar and that’s a disaster too.

    I do volunteer for the Leukemia and Lymphoma society and mail out fund raising letters to my neighbors. I used to also volunteer and run marathons for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training (TNT) program.

  3. I agree – low fat diets are terrible for weight loss. Fats are good for us and the sooner people stop eating low fat – which is really man made processed garbage – we will be a lot better off and a lot less obese a nation

    • Absolutely! the best way to gain weight is to go on a ‘low-fat’ diet. :) I like my food real and as unprocessed as possible which means I go for the full-fat or regular product.

      I was at the petrol station getting fuel this afternoon and as I waited in the line to pay I noticed a man in front of me. He had a Diet Coke in one hand and a Mars bar in the other. Do you think he thinks the ‘diet’ part of the Coke cancelled out the Mars Bar. :)

      I would love this information to be more mainstream and as John S said I wonder why the medical associations continue to promote low fat when it clearly is not working.

  4. John S says:

    If the statistics are the same as they were about 10 years ago Australians ate the most sugar per capita than any other country. The US was 2nd. However, when I looked it up the US is listed at about 30kg/person/year under WHO information. This contrasts with 155lb/person/year in other articles I saw. Anyway, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Singapore lead the way.

    http://www.whocollab.od.mah.se/expl/globalsugar.html#SEARO

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