Trying to lose weight? If so, you’ve probably gotten a lot of conflicting advice on which diet to try. Low-carb, low-fat and Mediterranean diets are 3 of the most popular. But, do any of them help you lose weight?
What’s The Best Diet For Weight Loss?:
One study assigned moderately obese participants to either a low-carb, low-fat, or Mediterranean diet for 2 years. Participants were given access to dietitians for counseling, were weighed every month and tested on a number of other outcomes. The low-fat and Mediterranean groups were restricted to 1500 kcal a day for women and 1800 kcal a day for men. The low-carb group had no total calorie restriction, but were to eat less than 20 grams of carbohydrates for the first 2 months and then gradually increased the carbohydrate max to 120 grams a day. The researchers found that the low-fat group lost an average of 6.4 lbs, the low-carb group lost an average of 10.4 lbs, while the Mediterranean group lost an average of 9.7 lbs. The trajectory of the weight loss was interesting. The low-carb diet led to the most weight loss at 6 months. However, the low-fat and low-carb group gained back some of their weight loss, while the Mediterranean group was able to roughly maintain their initial weight loss.
When broken down between sexes, men lost 7.5 lbs on the low-fat diet, 8.8 lbs on the Mediterranean diet and 10.8 lbs on the low-carb diet. Women lost .22 lbs on the low-fat diet, 13.7 lbs on the Mediterranean diet and 5.3 lbs on the low-carb diet. Overall 24 month adherence was 90.4% in the low-fat group, 85.3% in the Mediterranean group and 78.0% in the low-carb group. A number of biomarkers were also tracked and improved in most cases for all 3 groups. The low-carb group had the most positive lipid profiles and the lowest C-Reactive protein levels (an inflammation marker), whereas the Mediterranean group had the most favorable glucose and insulin levels.
While, participants on all 3 diets lost weight, the low-carb and Mediterranean diets were superior to the low-fat diet on almost every measure. Which diet you choose depends on a number of factors. According to this study, diabetics and women are best off on a Mediterranean diet, whereas men and those at risk for heart disease best off on a low-carb diet.
Shai, Iris, et al. “Weight loss with a low-carbohydrate, Mediterranean, or low-fat diet.” New England Journal of Medicine 359.3 (2008): 229-241.