A new study in the New England Journal of Medicine has found that counting calories is still the only clinically meaningful way to lose weight, despite all of the ever-emerging fad diets and weight loss products.
The study analyzed whether diets emphasizing fat, protein or carbohydrates are most effective for weight loss, and measured participants’ progress over a two-year span. Since there are very few similar studies that track results for more than one year, researchers hoped to gain a better perspective of dieters’ long-term results.
According to the abstract:
“At 6 months, participants assigned to each diet had lost an average of 6 kg, which represented 7% of their initial weight; they began to regain weight after 12 months. By 2 years, weight loss remained similar in those who were assigned to a diet with 15% protein and those assigned to a diet with 25% protein (3.0 and 3.6 kg, respectively); in those assigned to a diet with 20% fat and those assigned to a diet with 40% fat (3.3 kg for both groups); and in those assigned to a diet with 65% carbohydrates and those assigned to a diet with 35% carbohydrates (2.9 and 3.4 kg, respectively) (P>0.20 for all comparisons). Among the 80% of participants who completed the trial, the average weight loss was 4 kg; 14 to 15% of the participants had a reduction of at least 10% of their initial body weight. Satiety, hunger, satisfaction with the diet, and attendance at group sessions were similar for all diets; attendance was strongly associated with weight loss (0.2 kg per session attended). The diets improved lipid-related risk factors and fasting insulin levels.”
Researchers concluded that there was no specific advantage to dieters with greater emphasis on protein, fat or carbohydrates, but that genuine weight loss—loss of actual body mass—was simply a matter of reducing calories.
"The hidden secret is it doesn't matter if you focus on low-fat or low-carb," Dr. Elizabeth Nabel, director of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, told Fox News.
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