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Low Fat diets for weight loss – yes or no?


One of the reasons I love attending my conferences is that there is always some great overlap with other fields. The Nutrition-based lectures are always very interesting, and this year there were a few sessions dedicated to various research study outcomes to be discussed.{{more}}

One study called the Pounds Lost Trial was quite interesting from the dieting standpoint. The study was set up to see if there is a particular macronutrient mix, that is combination of fat and protein, in a diet that makes weight loss easier/more successful. Four different diets were used:

1) Low fat, average protein

2) High fat, average protein

3) Low fat, high protein


4) High fat, high protein.

Over eight hundred obese people were enrolled in this research program over a 2-year period. They all had intensive dietary counseling as part of the study. Which group do YOU think lost the most weight over those two years?

Well, it may surprise you (because I was definitely a little surprised) that it did not really matter which diet they chose – it did not affect the amount of weight loss that much! The key was STICKING WITH THE DIET PLAN, which is where most of the difference came in. People tended to stay with their diets if they were in the high fat group more than if they were in a lower fat group, not surprisingly. But overall, there was not much difference between diets when comparing people who stuck with the program the way they were supposed to. So, what does this mean for you if your doctor recommends a low fat diet?

First thing to note is that there are other reasons to recommend a low fat diet besides weight loss. The number one other reason would be if you have high cholesterol, for which a low fat diet is one of the recommended changes to be made. In addition, if you have specific gastrointestinal/stomach issues, you may be recommended to start a low fat diet. But for weight loss alone, there truly is not one recommended “best” diet for people anymore. The “best” diet is one that reduces your calories, causes weight loss AND is one that you can stick to for the long run. No matter how great a diet is supposed to work, if you don’t stay with it then you will not get results.

Until next week, stay safe and healthy Vincies!

Anita Ramsetty, MD
Medical Director Endocrine Care Group
Tel: 843-798-4227