November 7, 2015
Low-fat Diet Not Most Effective for Weight Loss
It is great to see headlines like this, “Low-fat diet not most effective in long-term weight loss.” Researchers conducted a systematic review of randomized clinical trials comparing the long-term effectiveness of low-fat and higher-fat dietary interventions on weight loss. The effectiveness of low-fat diet on weight-loss has been debated for decades, and hundreds of randomized clinical trials aimed at evaluating this issue have been conducted with mixed results. Mixed results because of setting up the studies for short periods of time and often using individuals that could easily lose weight.
Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (HSPH) conducted a comprehensive review of the data generated from randomized clinical trials that explored the efficacy of a low-fat diet and found that low-fat interventions were no more successful than higher-fat interventions in achieving and maintaining weight loss for periods longer than one year. These results are published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology on October 30, 2015.
"Despite the pervasive dogma that one needs to cut fat from their diet in order to lose weight, the existing scientific evidence does not support low-fat diets over other dietary interventions for long-term weight loss," said Deirdre Tobias, ScD, a researcher in the Division of Preventive Medicine at BWH.
"In fact, we did not find evidence that is particularly supportive of any specific proportion of calories from fat for meaningful long-term weight loss. We need to look beyond the ratios of calories from fat, carbs, and protein to a discussion of healthy eating patterns, whole foods, and portion sizes. Finding new ways to improve diet adherence for the long-term and preventing weight gain in the first place are important strategies for maintaining a healthy weight."
According to the researchers, "The key is to improve long-term compliance and cardiometabolic health. Therefore, weight loss diets should be tailored to cultural and food preferences and health conditions of the individual and should also consider long-term health consequences of the diets."
While I can agree with part of this, we need to get away from the word diet, which always leads to failure, and consider this a lifestyle change and a way of eating to have success. Normally, a low carbohydrate and high fat (LCHF) way of eating should achieve weight loss and help maintain this loss of weight.
Yet, most dietitians and the organizations they belong to, insist on whole grains and high carbohydrate diets that can't be sustained because of the weight gain that results.
The members of our diabetes support group are happy that we have two nutritionists that are not members of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) or the American Society of Nutrition (ASN), which are the tools of Big Food. We are learning about LCHF and balancing the daily nutrition. They also encourage each of us to be careful not to increase the amount of protein in our meal plan unless the doctor approves this.