Low-carbohydrate diets, the embattled alternative to low-fat eating, have gotten a new boost: a new study has found low-carb diets help people shed pounds more quickly than low-fat regimes.
Researchers in the United States and Switzerland analyzed five clinical trials comparing 447 middle-aged Americans, 222 of whom followed a low-carb diet, with the rest eating a low-fat diet. After six months those following a low-carbohydrate diet lost more weight than people on a low-fat diet, but that weight leveled off at a year.
“We showed that — at least for up to one year — a low-carb diet is relatively safe and as effective as a low-fat diet,” said lead author Alain Nordmann, a doctor at the University of Basel in Switzerland. “But this leaves a question mark on the safety on low-carb diets in the long-term,” he added. All of the trials were conducted in 2003 or later.
Low-carbohydrate diets are ideal for losing initial weight and may also be as effective as low-fat diets in maintaining weight loss for longer periods, the study said. The researchers also found the two diets did not change blood pressure or blood sugar.
The results appeared Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.