A new study financed by the National Institutes of Health adds fuel to the fire to reconsider fat as the bad actor in the American diet.
In fact, the study of 150 racially diverse men and women found that those who cut the carbohydrates in their diet and ate more fat lost weight and body fat and lowered their risk for heart disease. Those who cut their fat intake didn’t have the same successful results. Neither group was required to cut calories.
“It shows that in a free-living setting, cutting your carbs helps you lose weight without focusing on calories,” said Dariush Mozaffarian, the dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, who was not involved in the new study. “That’s really important because someone can change what they eat more easily than trying to cut down on their calories.”
The low-carbohydrate group was told to eat fish, meat, eggs, cheese and green vegetables and to keep fat to less than 40 percent of their calories. The low-fat group included more grains, cereals and starches in their diet and kept their fat intake to less than 30 percent.
Those in the low-carbohydrate group lost about eight pounds more on average than those in the low-fat group over the course of a year. They also lost significantly more body fat than the low-fat group and their lean muscle mass improved, even though neither group exercised any more than before. The low carbohydrate diet may be more effective in reducing cardiovascular risk factors, as well.
The research suggests that health authorities should stop restricting healthy fat, said Dr. Mozaffarian, and encourage people to eat fewer processed foods, particularly refined carbohydrates.
Who knew putting away the pasta and breaking out the peanut butter could help you lose weight?
Source: Annals of Internal Medicine, Sept 2, 2014, funded by National institute of Health; New York Times