There's always been debate over whether low-fat or low-carb diets are better for weight loss.
The findings, published this week in the academic journalJAMA, showed that dieting individuals who reduced their consumption of added sugars, highly processed foods and refined grains while focusing on increasing their vegetables and whole foods, lost significant amounts of weight over the course of a year without counting calories or limiting the size of portions.
But contrary to expectations, individuals randomized to a diet favored by their genotype did not lose more weight than those assigned to the mismatched diet.
Gardner, PhD, of the Stanford Prevention Research Center, department of medicine at Stanford University Medical School, and colleagues evaluated data from the Diet Intervention Examining the Factors Interacting With Treatment Success (DIETFITS) on 609 adults (mean age, 40 years; 57% women; mean BMI, 33 kg/m; 40% with low-fat genotype; 30% with low-carbohydrate genotype) to determine effects of diet composition on weight change over 12 months. Figuring out which diet is best for whom is a similar objective to the ones expressed by all of the new companies claiming to help people "personalize" their diet, he added. In the healthy low-carbohydrate diet group, 37.5% had the low-fat genotype and 31.9% had the low-carbohydrate genotype. One of the key focuses of the study was to understand how individual factors relate to weight loss and each participant's genome was examined at the start of the study. This Stanford study looked at three specific genetic variants commonly utilized in nutrigenomic studies and known to be involved in fat and carbohydrate metabolism.
The study found that after one year on either diet, which included more than 20 nutrition-education classes, participants lost a little more than 10 lbs. "This will also encourage an unhealthy relationship with food". (0.7 kg) - the difference within each diet group was more varied and more interesting, Gardner said. What's new is comparing low-fat to low-carb diets in a fairly rigorous way, and then checking the insulin secretion theory of the low-carb diet. There was virtually no difference in weight loss between the two groups after 12 months: 11.7 pounds in the low-fat group and 13.2 in the low-carb one, a difference that was not statistically significant or meaningful in real life.
This kind of study is expensive, time-consuming and hard to do, Gardner said.
The researchers found no evidence that some people are genetically adapted to respond better to one type of diet than another. Some dropped upward of 60 pounds, while others gained close to 15 or 20. Rather, it has much more to do with behavior change: "mindfulness, putting the fork down, not eating in front of the screen, going to the farmer's market, cooking meals". Neither is wrong - but there are better ways to lose weight.
Gardner and co-authors reported having no conflicts of interest. Dr. Apovian has participated on advisory boards for Amylin, Merck, Johnson and Johnson, Arena, Nutrisystem, Zafgen, Sanofi-Aventis, Orexigen, EnteroMedics, Scientific Intake and Novo Nordisk and she is on the Takeda Speakers' Bureau for the medication Contrave and has an ownership interest in Science Smart LLC.
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The cold air to the north surging southward will bring the potential for freezing rain late Tue into Wednesday morning. Travelers and those meeting or seeing them off should check http://www.flykci.com/ for real-time flight information.