Low-carbohydrate diets remain popular despite a paucity of scientific evidence on their effectiveness.
In this study, doctors from the United States compare the effects of a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet program with those of a low-fat, low-cholesterol, reduced-calorie diet.
|Both groups lost more fat mass than fat-free mass.|
|Annals of Internal Medicine|
The team studied 120 overweight, hyperlipidemic volunteers from the community.
Participants underwent 1 of 2 diets:
- A low-carbohydrate diet plus nutritional supplementation, exercise recommendation, and group meetings.
- Or a low-fat diet plus exercise recommendation and group meetings.
The team measured body weight, body composition, fasting serum lipid levels, and tolerability.
A greater proportion of participants in the low-carbohydrate diet group than the low-fat diet group completed the study.
The team found that at 24 weeks, weight loss was greater in the low-carbohydrate diet group than in the low-fat diet group.
They established that participants in both groups lost more fat mass than fat-free mass.
In addition, the team found that participants in the low-carbohydrate group had greater decreases in serum triglyceride levels and greater increases in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels.
Minor adverse effects were more frequent in the low-carbohydrate diet group.
The doctors caution that they were unable to distinguish between the effects of the low-carbohydrate diet and the nutritional supplements provided to that group.
Furthermore, the study was only of 24 weeks duration.
Dr William Yancy and colleagues concluded, "Compared with a low-fat diet, a low-carbohydrate diet program had better participant retention and greater weight loss".
"During active weight loss, serum triglyceride levels decreased more and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol level increased more with the low-carbohydrate diet than with the low-fat diet".