Study: Diet For Permanent Weight Loss Is Up To You

Filed under: Study — @ April 29, 2007


Dr. Susan Roberts studied low-carb and low-fat diets for weight loss

What’s the secret to losing weight and keeping it off over the long-term?

I’ve probably revealed the simple answer to that question a million times before at my blog–find the diet that’s right for you, learn all you can about that particular plan to do it correctly, and then keep doing it for the rest of your life. Yes, I lost nearly 200 pounds on the Atkins low-carb diet and have been blogging about it for over two years, but I realize this way of eating is not for everyone.

Now this new study confirms the notion of discovering the customized plan that works for the individual.

Lead researcher Dr. Susan B. Roberts, Senior Scientist and Director of the Energy Metabolism Laboratory in the Jean Mayer USDA HNRCA at the Boston, MA-based Tufts University, and her fellow researchers wanted to try to settle the age-old question of which diet makeup is best for weight loss and weight maintenance.

The researchers observed 34 healthy, but overweight men and women who were placed on a calorie-restricted diet where their total caloric intake was cut by 30 percent. However, the study participants were split into one of two groups:

LOW-GLYCEMIC LOAD LOWER-CARB DIET (LG) or
HIGH-GLYCEMIC LOAD LOW-FAT DIET (HG)

The LG group avoided foods with sugar and starch, but still ate 40 percent of their calories as carbohydrates. The macronutrient breakdown of the fat and protein were 30 percent each. Interestingly, they call this a “low-carb” diet, but it’s not low enough for most of us who are livin’ la vida low-carb. This more closely resembles The Zone diet.

The HG group, on the other hand, ate 60 percent of their calories as carbohydrates while limiting their fat and protein to 20 percent each. This is what many would describe as the Standard American Diet (SAD). The researchers took great pains to try to match the foods in this group with the taste, appearance, and calorie counts of the LG group (yeah, good luck with that!).

Weekly shopping and cooking classes for each of the groups were provided with a dietitian (HOO BOY!) and the exact foods needed to do each diet were distributed to the study participants for the first six months of the study. Yet, after that they left them to their own devices to eat on their own for the second six months of the study. Uh-oh!

Over the one-year study, the study participants kept a food diary with the amount of calories and food that were consumed. The reseachers noticed that all of them “cheated” at some point in their plan. Furthermore, both the LG and HG groups lost statistically the same amount of weight and body fat regardless of the program they were following.

Click here to find out more about this study and why it still doesn’t really show a genuine comparison between low-fat and low-carb diets.

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