A Low-Fat Diet Doesn’t Help with Long Term Weight-Loss: Researchers at Harvard

A Low-Fat Diet Doesn't Help with Long Term Weight-Loss: Researchers at Harvard

You’d like to think that cutting out butter, oil, ghee and other fatty foods from your dietcould help you lose weight but researchers at Harvard believe otherwise. According to a study published in the journal The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, a low fat diet isn’t your road to long term weight-loss.

Researchers believe that a low-fat diet is obviously better than no diet at all but it’s certainly less effective than low-carbohydrate or Mediterranean diets. They suggest that instead of focusing on fat, carbohydrates and protein it would be better to pay more attention to portion sizes and unprocessed foods.

Deirdre Tobias, lead author from Harvard Medical School, Boston, US said, “Behind current dietary advice to cut out the fat, which contains more than twice the calories per gram of carbohydrates and protein, the thinking is that simply reducing fat intake will naturally lead to weight loss. But our robust evidence clearly suggests otherwise.”

Tobias and colleagues did a systematic review and analysis of all randomised trials comparing the effectiveness of low-fat diets to other diets, including no diet, at improving long-term weight loss (at least one year) in non-pregnant adults up to the end of July 2014. Analysis of 53 studies involving 68,128 adults showed no difference in the average weight loss between reduced-fat diets and higher-fat diets.

Indeed, reduced-fat diets only led to greater weight loss when compared with no diet at all, and resulted in less weight loss compared with low-carbohydrate interventions, although differences in weight change were small.

“The science does not support low-fat diets as the optimal long-term weight loss strategy. To effectively address the obesity epidemic, we will need more research to identify better approaches for long-term weight loss and weight maintenance, including the need to look beyond differences in macronutrient composition–the proportion of calories that come from fat, carbohydrate, and protein,” explained Tobias.
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