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Low fat diets no better than higher fat for weight loss

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A study due to have been published in a journal called The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology on October 30, 2015, shows that eating low-fat diets are not any more effective at reducing bodyweight than higher fat diets. 

 

The effectiveness of low-fat diet on weight-loss has been debated for decades, and hundreds of randomised clinical trials aimed at evaluating this issue have been conducted with mixed results. A new research review, analysing 53 studies, finds that low-fat interventions were no more successful than higher-fat interventions in achieving and maintaining weight loss for periods longer than one year.

Deirdre Tobias, ScD, a researcher in the Division of Preventive Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (USA), part of the review group, said “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. 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.”

“Current evidence indicates that clinically meaningful weight loss can be achieved with a variety of dietary approaches,” said Frank Hu, senior author of the paper and Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “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.”

My feeling on this is that focussing on low fat eating is probably very difficult to follow and therefore results in overcompensating in other areas. Certainly lower fat diets can be lacking in flavour and satiating quality leading to lower satisfaction with eating, and possibly consequent bingeing at a later time. Including moderate amounts of fat, protein and carbs in the diet is probably the safest way to ensure adequate nutrients. Focussing on portion control, listening more to our hunger and fullness cues and filling up on fibrous, whole foods, while allowing a little of what we fancy, can lead to a good relationship with food and then a better chance of losing fat.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, whatever you’re having to eat!

Lisa

 

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