Weight Loss Is Not Influenced By Diet Type But By Diet Quality (Study)

Woman checking for weight loss with a tape measure.

Weight loss can be achieved by having both low-carb and low-fat diets, according to a study.

When opting to lose some of that extra weight you should try any low-fat or low-carbohydrate diet. There isn’t much difference, according to a new study, as long as you eat enough vegetables and low fruits all the while cutting back on added sugar, refined grains, and highly processed foods.

Researchers were not able to find any evidence that a person’s genetic makeup, or reaction to insulin, determines which type of diet is most effective for weight loss.

“We don’t really think there is one diet that’s best for everyone,” says Christopher Gardner, director of nutrition studies at the Stanford Prevention Research Center and lead author of the study.

In order to determine whether genetics and insulin levels contributed to people’s ability to lose weight while on either of the two diets, Gardner and his team conducted a randomized clinical trial.

Researchers thus examined 609 adults, aged 18 to 50 from the San Francisco area which were then divided into two groups based on their gender. All of the participants had a body mass index (BMI) of between 28 and 40.

Researchers measured the participants’ body response to insulin and another test involved looking for genetic variants linked to the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats.

The participants were then randomly assigned to either a low-fat or a low-carb diet, which they had to follow for one year. During the first two months of the study, researchers encouraged the low-fat group to cut down to 20 grams of fat per day while the low-carb group was told to cut down to 20 grams a day.

After those first eight weeks, the participants were instructed to add small amounts of fat or carbs to the point where they felt they could maintain that particular diet for the rest of their lives.

Once the year had passed, the low-fat group averaged 57 grams of fat daily whereas the people on the low-carb diet averaged at 132 grams of carbohydrates on a daily basis. These figures were much lower than what they were prescribed at the start of the study.

Researchers found that, at the end of the year, the weight loss for the two groups was very similar. The low-fat group had an average of nearly 11 pounds while the low-carb group registered 13 pounds.

The results also showed that people with different genetic makeups linked to a low-fat diet response were not more likely to lose weight on a low-fat diet. This also held true to those on the low-carb diet, who were just as likely to lose weight if they were to go on a low-fat diet.

The study was published in the journal, JAMA.

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