Harvard Study: Cut Carbs Not Fat To Lose Weight

If the goal is losing fat, reducing carbohydrates is a much more effective strategy than reducing fat, according to a new study from Harvard.

The study analyzed 53 studies, and looked at more than 67,000 dieters involved. Those who had reduced dietary fat to lose weight were two and a half pounds heavier on average, a year after the diet, compared to those who lost weight using a low carb diet. Ever since low fat diets began to gain traction in the media, there has been an endless debate over which is better, low carb or low fat, and now the answer is much more clear.

The study was conducted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital, together with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. They looked at studies that included data from one year or more post-diet, and in 53 studies, they were able to see the analysis of 68,128 study participants.

Across both groups, low carb and low fat, the average dieter remained six pounds lighter one year after the diet, with the low carb dieters being around two and a half pounds lighter than the low fat dieters.

The current evidence in regards to low fat diets vs. low carb diets does not suggest that low fat diets are in any way more effective, according to Dr. Deirdre Tobias. She also said that the current evidence in no way at all supports reducing fat calories for a successful diet.

The researchers did not say that low carb is the only effective way, only that is appears to be the most effective way. Any dietary approach that focuses on portion control and reducing overall calories will work to lose fat, but the researchers do believe that going low carb is the most efficient way. Total calories is the most important factor, but there are various ways to go about it, with lowering carb portions being the easiest way.

Dr. Tobias also stressed the importance of looking at the diet as a whole, not just eliminating one food group. Carbs should be controlled, but it’s also very important to make sure people understand how to have a a healthy balance of whole foods, in the proper portion sizes. Researchers from Harvard also said that many different dietary approaches can work, however the goal is long-term sustainability and overall health, and for those goals, low carb is the superior method.

The researchers believed that it is simply much easier for the average person to cut back on carbs, as it simple to remove sugary drinks, bread, candy, sweets, and starchy carbs. This is an approach that is not as complex or hard to follow as trying to find low fat options at all times, so when adherence is easier, the diet will always be more successful.




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