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It’s a Draw! Low-Fat or Low-Carb Diets Equally Good, Finds Study

This is an introduction to the original commentary which can be found here:


By Marlene Busko February 20, 2018


In a large, randomized trial, 1-year weight loss was similar with a healthy low-fat diet or a healthy low-carbohydrate diet.

Moreover, neither genotype patterns nor baseline insulin secretion predicted which type of diet would be better for any one individual.

These findings, from the Diet Intervention Examining the Factors Interacting With Treatment Success (DIETFITS) trial by Christopher D Gardner, PhD, from Stanford University, California, and colleagues, were published in the February 20 issue of JAMA.


“In the context of these two common weight-loss diet approaches, neither of the two hypothesized predisposing factors was helpful in identifying which diet was better for whom,” the researchers report.

A small preliminary trial had suggested that overweight people would have greater weight loss success if they followed a low-carb or low-fat diet, based on a certain genotype pattern, but this was not the case.

The current work also shows that individuals with high insulin secretion did not have greater weight-loss success with a low-carb diet.

However, for both diets participants were instructed to minimize or eliminate refined grains and added sugars, and maximize vegetable intake, the researchers stress.


“We conclude that when equal emphasis is given to high dietary quality for both low-fat and low-carbohydrate eating plans, it is not helpful to preferentially direct an individual with high insulin secretion status who is seeking weight loss to follow a lower-carbohydrate eating plan instead of a lower-fat eating plan,” say Gardner and colleagues.

Published online February 20, 2018. Abstract

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