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 22 February 2018

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News

A low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet vs a low-fat diet for obesity

When compared with a low-fat diet, a low-carbohydrate diet has better participant retention and achieves greater weight loss, find doctors in the latest issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

News image

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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:

  1. A low-carbohydrate diet plus nutritional supplementation, exercise recommendation, and group meetings.
  2. 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".

Ann Intern Med 2004; 140(10): 769-77
19 May 2004

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