When it comes to weight loss, you want results quickly and easily without any associated health risks. The popularity and success of the Atkins Diet and South Beach Diet has led researchers to examine the basis of these diets more closely — low carbs– comparing it to the gold standard of the diet and nutrition industry: the low-calorie, low-fat diet.
In late 2010, the “Annals of Internal Medicine” published the results of a well-designed two-year study by Foster et al., that concluded that low carb diets are equally as effective, if not more effective, as low-fat, low-calorie diets. In fact, low carb dieters achieved greater weight loss results faster and had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease after two years. Experts speculate this could be related to improved adherence to the low carb diet — a greater number of subjects stuck with the low carb diet versus the low-fat, low-calorie diet. It is also important to note that both groups received regular behavioral counseling to improve adherence and participated in exercise throughout the two-year study.
Another notable detail of the Foster et al. study is that the low carb group did not have any restriction on the amount of protein and fat that they were allowed to consume. When the study began, the low carb group consumed no more than 20 grams of carbohydrates per day in the form of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, adding back 5 grams every 3 months until they reached their desired maintenance weight.
If you are looking to make changes to your diet, it is always best to speak with doctor and/or a dietitian about how specific changes may affect your personal health and/or individual conditions.