The Fat Lady Slims

Question 207

Which diet is better for you low carb or low fat?


"...premenopausal overweight and obese women assigned to follow the Atkins diet… lost more weight and experienced more favorable overall metabolic effects at 12 months than women assigned to follow the Zone, Ornish, or LEARN diets." Gardner et al, 2007, The A TO Z Weight Loss Study

"[Low Carb Diet] was shown to have favourable effects on body weight and major cardiovascular risk factors" Santos, F. L., Esteves, S. S., da Costa Pereira, A., Yancy Jr, W. S. and Nunes, J. P. L. (2012), Systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trials of the effects of low carbohydrate diets on cardiovascular risk factors. Obesity Reviews, 13: 1048–1066. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-789X.2012.01021.x

"This systematic review focuses on randomized controlled trials of low-carb diets compared with low-fat/low-calorie diets….There were significant differences between the groups for weight, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triacylglycerols and systolic blood pressure, favouring the low-carbohydrate diet. There was a higher attrition rate in the low-fat compared with the low-carb groups suggesting a patient preference for a low-carb/high-protein approach… Evidence from this systematic review demonstrates that low-carb/high-protein diets are more effective at 6 months and are as effective, if not more, as low-fat diets in reducing weight and cardiovascular disease risk up to 1 year." Hession, M., Rolland, C., Kulkarni, U., Wise, A., & Broom, J. (2009). Systematic review of randomized controlled trials of low-carbohydrate vs. low-fat/low-calorie diets in the management of obesity and its comorbidities. Obesity reviews, 10(1), 36–50. doi:10.1111/j.1467-789X.2008.00518.x

"meta-analysis aimed to investigate whether individuals assigned to a very-low-carbohydrate ketogenic diets (VLCKD) (i.e. a diet with no more than 50 g carbohydrates/d) achieve better long-term body weight and cardiovascular risk factor management when compared with individuals assigned to a conventional low-fat diet (LFD; i.e. a restricted-energy diet with less than 30 % of energy from fat)... randomised controlled trials... adults... with 12 months or more of follow-up... thirteen studies ...five outcomes revealed significant results. Individuals assigned to a VLCKD showed decreased body weight, TAG and diastolic blood pressure while increased HDL-C and LDL-C. Individuals assigned to a VLCKD achieve a greater weight loss than those assigned to a LFD in the long term." Bueno, N. B., De Melo, I. S. V., De Oliveira, S. L., & Da Rocha Ataide, T. (2013). Very-low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet v. low-fat diet for long-term weight loss: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. The British journal of nutrition, 1–10. doi:10.1017/S0007114513000548

Blog post: Authority Nutrition - 23 studies on Low-Carb and Low-Fat diets