The debate over whether reduced fat or low carbohydrate diets are most effective for weight loss has being going for years.
While everyone from personal trainers to weight loss coaches will have their own opinions as to which is most effective, what does science say? Is one type of diet actually more effective than the other?
A new study suggests that both of the aforementioned diets can work well, providing people stick to them, eat less overall, and maintain a healthy diet with plenty of vegetables and little sugar.
In a study involving 609 participants aged 18 to 50 with a body mass index (BMI) of between 28 and 40, researchers in California found that people lost between 11 and 13lbs on average over the course of 12 months, regardless of whether they were assigned to a low-carb or low-fat diet.
Despite previous studies that suggested certain gene variations were connected to the body’s response to certain diets, no evidence was found to suggest that some people are genetically adapted to achieve better results on one type of diet than the other.
Each participant underwent a variety of measurements and tests, including their weight, insulin response to glucose, and tests for genetic variants linked to diet response.
After completing these tests, each participant was randomly assigned to either a low-fat or low-carb diet.
Over the course of a year, participants were encouraged to eat healthily and consume plenty of vegetables and fibre, while avoiding sugar and refined grains. They were also invited to attend 22 group sessions to help them stick to their diet.
Those taking part in the study were weighed and measured after 3 months, 6 months and 12 months, and encouraged to fill out food questionnaires to determine how closely they were following their designated diet.
When the study concluded, no connections were made between the genetic variations and the ‘ideal’ diet.
The exact amount of weight loss differed from person to person in the experiment. It ranged from a weight loss of 4 stone 10lbs to a gain of 1 stone 8lbs. However, no correlation could be made between weight changes, genetic variation or type of diet followed.
As a result, researchers concluded that there must be other factors that are responsible for the results achieved.