Last Tuesday morning, my inbox was flooded with emails about new research suggesting the Low Carb diet is the best diet for weight loss and cardiovascular health.
Last Tuesday afternoon, my inbox was flooded with emails about a different study suggesting that all diets are equal and there is no significant difference between them.
Then my email (and my mind!) was flooded with – well, what is it? Low carb or low fat??
Of course this is an important topic for me considering I am a dietitian and discuss weight loss all day long…and I am working at Stanford University on the largest single site weight loss study where we are comparing low carbohydrate and low fat diets. Quite a day!
So, here is the skinny on the two studies…
Study 1: At Tulane University, 150 people were randomized into low carb and low fat groups and followed diets for a year. The goals were that the low carb group would drop their intake to 40 grams of carb per day, while the low fat group would drop their fat intake to a diet where fat comprised 30% of their total calories.
At baseline, the low carb group was averaging 240 grams – so they had to drop their carb intake by 83%. Pretty significant change! The low fat group started at 35% fat- so they only had to drop by 5%. Not too difficult!
Pretty sneaky eh? It is crucial to understand the research and study design to be able to interpret results. While it is true the low carb group lost more weight and improved their cardiovascular health, this may not be due to being on a low carb diet per se, but rather because they made such a significant change in their diet.
Study 2: A review comparing literature of research that looked at low carb and low fat diets. They used “network meta analysis,” meaning they used statistics to compare all diets. For example, if one study compared Diet A to Diet B and another study compared Diet B to Diet C – they used techniques to compare Diet A to Diet C. Well, that gets tricky, and the amount of confusing data out there can get even more confusing…so I have a hard to believing it to be fact.
So, what the heck to do? I happened to write a blog about this two weeks ago – convenient right??As I mentioned, I am not sold on one diet being better than the other just yet. I am convinced in planning your day, eating whole foods, finding a system that works for you and taking responsibility. OWN it and make it happen.
Here is a great New York Times Op piece discussing the diet drama! David Katz provides an excellent perspective and my boss at Stanford, Christopher Gardner, is quoted.
No need to trust the headlines - TRUST AND BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. You got this. And I am here for support whenever you need.