Effectiveness of Diets for Weight Loss
The rising rates of
Researchers in Israel, set out to evaluate the actual benefits of these three popular diets. The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine , provided important insight into each diets' benefits. Participants in all three studies lost weight and experienced health benefits, but each diet had its unique strengths.
About the Study
The randomized, controlled study followed 322 moderately obese participants over two years. The participants were divided into three groups. Each group was assigned one of the following diet plans:
- Low fat, restricted calories
- Mediterranean, restricted calories
- Low carbohydrate, no restricted calories
At the end of the two years:
- The low-carbohydrate group lost the most weight (avg. 4.7 kg) (4.4 kg for Mediterranean group and 2.9 for low-fat group)
- The low-carbohydrate group had the best improvement in cholesterol ratio
- The Mediterranean diet group had the best improvements in fasting glucose levels
Not all participants completed the study. The highest rate of dropout was in the low-carbohydrate diet group (78% completed), followed by the Mediterranean diet group (85% completed), and the low-fat dieters (90% completed).
It may be important to note that although no conflict was reported, the study was supported in part by the Atkins Research Foundation. Atkins is a popular low-carbohydrate diet program.
How Does This Affect You?
There are many considerations when selecting the proper diet. Any existing health conditions need to be considered in your choices. This study suggests that the low-carbohydrate diet may be a better option if you have heart and or cholesterol concerns, whereas the Mediterranean diet may be better for people that need help with blood glucose control. In any case, diets that are too restricting are unlikely to be followed for extended periods of times.
Talk to a registered dietitian about diet options. A dietitian can take your health concerns and personal preferences into account.
American Academy of Family Physicians
American Dietetic Association
Shai I, Schwarzfuchs D, Henkin Y. Weight loss with a low-carbohydrate, Mediterranean, or low-fat diet. N Eng J Med . 2008 Jul 17;359(3):229-41.
Last reviewed August 2008 by
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © 2007 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.