Low-carb or low-fat debate - it might be a draw

The Diet Intervention Examining The Factors Interacting with Treatment Success (DIETFITS) randomized clinical trial lasted 12 months and included 609 adults aged 18 to 50 years without diabetes who had a body mass index (BMI) between 28 and 40, which generally generally indicates that the individual is slightly overweight to borderline extremely obese, although BMI is not a flawless measure of a healthy weight.

Researchers from Stanford University School of Medicine say one type of diet could work better for certain individuals.

But a new study found that people who cut either carbs or fats shaved off about 5.9 kg (13 pounds) of excess weight in about the same proportion, reported The Daily Mail.

Professor Gardner recruited 609 participants between the ages of 18 and 50 for his tests.

How many conversations have you had with your friends debating what the best way to lose weight is: to eat a low-fat diet or a low-carbohydrate diet?

Stanford University researchers wanted to know whether a person's DNA ultimately affects how efficiently they lose weight when given the right type of diet.

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There were also no differences in blood pressure, insulin levels, blood sugar levels or cholesterol readings, except that the volunteers in the low-carb group on average saw increases in their LDL ("bad" cholesterol) levels.

The individuals began by limiting their daily carbohydrate or fat intake to 20 grams for the first eight weeks.

It's possible this emphasis on healthy eating produced similar results with both diets tested in the study, said Vandana Sheth, a registered dietician and nutritionist in private practice in Los Angeles.

In diet studies, the average often doesn't tell the whole story.

They found both groups lost weight equally well, averaging around 6kg. But weight changes varied considerably between the participants, with some dropping by as much as 60 pounds, while others gained close to 20 pounds.

Further, genotype pattern and baseline insulin secretion were not associated with the dietary effects on weight loss, according to the researchers.

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No significant interaction was observed between diet-genotype pattern or diet-insulin section with 12-month weight loss.

So, by answering some questions, the research is opening the door to new ones. His research team is "continuing to delve into their databanks, now asking if the microbiome, epigenetics or a different gene expression pattern can clue them in to why there's such drastic variability between dieting individuals", it continues.

The low-fat dieters cut things like oils, fatty meats, full-fat dairy and nuts, while the low-carb dieters cut the likes of cereals, grains, rice, starchy vegetables and legumes. It really depends on your body, so if you fail on low-carb, try low-fat, and vice-versa.

"We made sure to tell everybody, regardless of which diet they were on, to go to the farmer's market, and don't buy processed convenience food crap", Gardner said.

"I'm hoping that we can come up with signatures of sorts", he added. "I feel like we owe it to Americans to be smarter than to just say 'eat less.' I still think there is an opportunity to discover some personalization to it - now we just need to work on tying the pieces together". The findings were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on February 20.

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  • Ryan Wade