Low-Carb vs Low-Fat - A Refreshing Review
Time to throw out the bread! A low-carb diet IS the most effective way to lose weight – and it cuts the risk of heart disease, too.
Zoë Harcombe, nutritionist-researcher-writer, has a no-nonsence approach to addressing obesity. Her personal insights and reviews of information published in main-stream media are always refreshing and challenging.
Zoë recently discovered some breaking news coming from the US on the back of a study looking at the effects of low-carbohydrate and low-fat diets. My interest peaked when I noticed her surprise that the study was 'refreshingly void of conflict' giving opinion that it is a rare thing to find a drug or food study genuinely independent and run so well. The results are intriguing.
What else was interesting is that the study was not well published this side of the Atlantic and in some ways seemed to be ignored by the big publishers such as the BBC.
The study enrolled a diverse demographic population and split them into 2 groups - Low-Fat and Low-Carb.
The low-fat diet followed typical government/WHO advice principles of less than 30% energy intake from fat, while the low-carb diet followed principles from public health opinion - in this case aiming for less than 40g of carbs a day. Interestingly the low-carb group missed their target substantially - consuming between 90-130g a day during the study period. Despite this the low-carb diet still produced superior and more effective results overall.
Weight loss was greater in the low-carbohydrate group than in the low-fat group at 3, 6, and 12 months.
Weight-loss was in fact at least double in the low-carb group even though they missed their carb-intake targets by a considerable margin. The low-carb group lost nearly 6kg's by the 3 month checkpoint.
Interestingly, as happened in my own experience when I first adopted a low-carb eating lifestyle, most of the weight loss occurred in the first 3 months.
Also, what seems to be a typical trend with a low-fat diet and as happened in this study - at 12 months the low-fat group had regained much of the weight that had been lost by the 3 month checkpoint.
Zoë also points out that this study does a good job to disprove the calorie theory, also mentioning that this theory has never in fact been proven correct.
What about cholesterol?
A common protest against the low-carb 'diet', accepting that by definition this means a higher fat intake, is the risk of raising the cholesterol, LDL, triglycerides levels in the body. The results from this study indicate that none of such risks were found to be true.
Whether you are familiar with the low-carb vs low-fat diet debate or not - if losing weight will help you regain optimal health then the low-carb style of eating is not to be ignored.
I share this article and link to the original work of Zoë's because I feel it is an authoritative review plus evidence supporting its benefits.
Original article with detailed results and figures can be found here - http://www.zoeharcombe.com/2014/09/the-low-carb-vs-low-fat-study/