In a recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, a research group from Temple University randomized patients to either a low carbohydrate diet or low fat diet and followed them closely for two years.
The findings come a little surprise to most physicians working today in the field of medically supervised weight loss, but have appeared surprising to many in the general population. The low carbohydrate diet proved better at creating a better cholesterol level profile than the low fat diet and appeared better at controlling high blood pressure, both considered cardiovascular risk factors for events such as heart attacks and stroke.
Both diets have produced around 7% weight loss at two years of follow-up with no significant difference between the two groups. There was no change in bone mineral density for either group at any point in the study and no change in body composition-or the percentage of body fat versus protein- at any point during the study.
High density lipoprotein (HDL cholesterol or so-called “good cholesterol”) was increased among the low carbohydrate group significantly above that of the low fat group.
The researchers point out that the key to long term success lies with changing behaviors staying focused on reduced calorie intake and carbohydrate consumption, avoiding snacking and other excess calorie intake.
Previous studies comparing low fat to low carbohydrate diets have demonstrated that dieters found greater satisfaction and were more successful in sticking to the low carbohydrate diet when compared to the less enjoyable low fat diet. This recent Temple University study adds to the evidence favoring a low carbohydrate approach by pointing out the more favorable outcomes for cardiovascular risk factors among the low carb dieters compared to low fat dieters.