Low-carb diet beats low-fat in year-long test

The latest study in the diet wars suggests we should eat fewer carbohydrates.

In the apparently never-ending debate over what are the healthiest foods to eat, a major new study declares that people who eat more fat – even saturated fats – are at less cardiovascular risk than people with a diet high in carbohydrates.

The report published in the Annals of Internal Medicine followed a group of 148 obese men and women between the ages of 22 and 75. They were assigned either a diet that limited fat or carbs but not total calories.

After a year of this, those on the low-carb diet had lost about 4kg more on average than those in the low-fat group, without changing their exercise regime. What's more, the people on the low-fat lost more lean muscle than body fat.

"This study shows if you are overweight and have cardiovascular disease risk factors and haven't had success on other diets, certainly a low-carbohydrate diet is worth a try," says the report's lead author, Dr. Lydia Bazzano of Tulane University in New Orleans.

But the report has its critics.

Dr. David Jenkins, the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto, told Reuters that the people in the study appeared to improve their overall diets. Those on the low-carb diet ate foods with healthier fats, such as nuts and beans, more fibre and cut down processed food.

  1. http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=1900694
  2. http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/09/01/us-carbon-fat-study-idUSKBN0GW33P20140901
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