New Study Supports Benefits of Low-Carb Diet

written by: Dr. Mark Lange, PhD

A new study published in Annals of Internal Medicine finds that after one year, participants on a low-carb diet lost more weight and improved markers of cardiovascular health more than those on a low-fat diet.  The study of 148 men and women without clinical cardiovascular disease and diabetes were randomly assigned a low-carb or low-fat diet.  A low-carb diet was defined as less than 40 grams per day carbohydrate consumption and a low-fat diet was less than 30% of daily energy intake from total fat.   Both groups received dietary counseling throughout the trial.

The results clearly favored the low-carb group:

•             Lost significantly more weight than the low-fat dieters (12 lbs vs 4 lbs).
•             HDL good cholesterol levels rose.
•             HCL-to-total cholesterol ratio rose.
•             Improved lean muscle mass.
•             Decrease in C-reactive protein.

For years low-carb diets have been criticized because they are often high in fat.  But the new study seems to allay some of these concerns and may even call into question recommendations made by the American Heart Association, which has long touted the benefits of a low-fat diet.

Reference:  Ann Intern Med. 2014;161(5):309-318. doi:10.7326/M14-0180