Low Fat Diet vs. Low Carb Diet: Which is More Effective?

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Aug 14, 2015 06:25 AM EDT

There are a plethora of diets out there today - gluten-free, Paleo, Atkins, Mediterranean, just to name a few. All of these diets follow a strict code of concepts that help the person achieve better health.

However, a new study by Kevin Hall, a researcher at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, showed that a low-fat diet may help people lose more body fat than a low-carbohydrate diet in the long run, according to ABC Science.

"A lot of people have very strong opinions about what matters for weight loss, and the physiological data upon which those beliefs are based are sometimes lacking," Hall said, as quoted by Live Science. "I wanted to rigorously test the theory that carbohydrate restriction is particularly effective for losing body fat, since this idea has been influencing many people's decisions about their diets."

With this in mind, Hall and his colleagues studied 19 obese people with the average age of 35 during a two week period. During the first five days of the research, the participants consumed 2,740 calories daily, 50 percent of which were carbohydrates, while 35 percent were fat, and 15 percent protein.

During the following 6 days, the calorie count was reduced by 30 percent from decreasing the consumption of carbohydrates. After a few weeks' break, the process was again repeated, with the conditions reversed.

The experiment showed that the reduced fat diet resulted to an 89 gram per day fat loss rate, while the equal calorie reduction method via carbohydrate restriction showed a 53 gram per day fat loss.

According to Hall, "One of the main results of the study is that not all diet calories are exactly equal when it comes to body fat loss. Whereas the reduced-fat diet led to no significant changes in the total calories burned by the body, the reduced-carb diet led to a significant decrease in overall calorie usage by about 100 kilocalories per day."

Human nutrition professor at the University of Sydney Dr. Jennie Brand-Miller said, "Their real-life study is highly reliable because they have essentially locked their subjects up and tracked every morsel of food."

She adds that this new study is a "game changer", because "the science of nutrition in recent years has shown that people lose more weight (faster) on a carbohydrate-restricted diet. So the two sets of findings needed to be reconciled."

This comes as good news to dieters, as earlier this year, psychology teacher and author Traci Mann revealed to the Washington Post that "dieting is bound to fail, it is destined to fail," which she discusses in her book, Secrets from the Eating Lab.

According to the Washington Post, Mann has been studying eating habits for more than 20 years and found out that dieting for a long period of time is impossible.

This new research by Hall can hopefully debunk some, if not all of the negative dieting myths. He said, "Rather than expecting a specific metabolic advantage for choosing one diet over another for losing body fat, it is better to choose a diet that is healthy for you and one that you can stick to for long periods of time, ideally permanently."

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