Mac answers low-fat, low-carb diet question

Hamilton, ON, Canada / AM900 CHML

MacMaster University is answering a long-standing question in the latest diet study to come forward – Which diet is better for losing weight – low-fat or low-carb?

The Hamilton institution says there is minimal difference between these weight-loss strategies. It instead is encouraging dieters to look at their dieting behaviour.

“The take-home message is that individuals, with allied health professionals, should choose a diet that they feel they can best adhere to. That’s the bottom line,” lead author Bradley Johnston told the Canadian Press. “Branded diets work for weight loss. Doing something that is self-enacted and structured is better than doing nothing.”

He says a re-analysis of 48 previous studies shows that both low-fat and low-carb diets are equally effective.

The study involved a meta-analysis of 48 randomized clinical trials of branded diets, including more than 7,200 overweight and obese adults with a median age of 46 years. The research team assessed weight loss at six and 12 months.

The median weight loss for both types of diets was 8 or 9 kilograms at 6 months, and about 7 kilograms at 12 months. The study is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“We wanted to be the first to compare, in an evidence-based fashion, all existing randomized trials of branded diets to determine their effectiveness with regard to weight loss,” said Johnston in a press release.

Johnston is an assistant professor of clinical epidemiology of the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster University, and clinical epidemiologist and scientist at The Hospital for Sick Children.

The study was published Tuesday by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

(With files from the Canadian Press)

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