Low Carb is Better

According to a new study. This is from USA Today:

In the largest study of its kind, researchers have found that dieters on low-carbohydrate plans don’t lose more weight over the long term than traditional dieters.

But there’s good news for carb-counters: They get greater improvement in their levels of triglycerides, blood fats linked to coronary disease. That is important because nutritionists have raised concern for years over low-carb diets’ high intake of saturated animal fat and its potential impact on the heart.

Millions are on Atkins and similar diets that push beef, fish, chicken, pork, cheese and high-fat salad dressings but slash carbohydrates, including sweets, potatoes, bread and pasta, starchy vegetables and many fruits.

Researchers at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Philadelphia followed 132 obese adults for a year. Half were told to try to eat less than 30 grams of carbs a day. The others were told to follow a more conventional plan: cutting 500 calories a day and limiting fat to 30% of calories.

Findings in today’s Annals of Internal Medicine:

? At six months, the low-carb group had lost an average of 13 pounds; the conventional dieters lost about 4 pounds.

? After a year, the low-carb group was down an average of 11 pounds. The other group continued to lose and was down an average of 8 pounds. The difference was not statistically significant.

? The low-carb group had a decrease in triglycerides, and diabetics in the group had better control of their blood sugar.

? Both diet groups had fairly high dropout rates. Almost a third of the dieters quit.

“Cutting back on carbohydrates for most Americans means getting rid of junk food like French fries, sodas, doughnuts,” says Linda Stern, the study’s lead author.

A second study, conducted at Duke University, also found that low-carb dieters had better improvements in triglycerides and “good” cholesterol. Duke tracked 120 overweight people for six months. Low-carb dieters lost an average of 26 pounds, compared with 14 for traditional dieters.