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Low-Carb Beats Low-Fat for Weight Loss, Heart Health

Findings based on both weight loss and reduction in cardiovascular risk factors

TUESDAY, Sept. 2, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- A low-carbohydrate diet is more effective than a low-fat diet for weight loss and cardiovascular risk factor reduction, according to a study published in the Sept. 2 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Lydia A. Bazzano, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., from the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans, and colleagues randomized 148 men and women without clinical cardiovascular disease and diabetes to either a low-carbohydrate (<40 g/d) or low-fat diet (<30 percent fat; <7 percent saturated fat). The authors sought to examine the effects of these two diets on body weight and cardiovascular risk factors.

The researchers found that based on the 60 participants in the low-fat group and 59 in the low-carbohydrate group who completed the study, at 12 months, participants on the low-carbohydrate diet had greater decreases in weight (mean difference in change, −3.5 kg; P < 0.001), fat mass (mean difference in change, −1.5 percent; P = 0.011), ratio of total to high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (mean difference in change, −0.44; P = 0.002), and triglyceride level (mean difference in change, −0.16 mmol/L; P = 0.038), compared to those on the low-fat diet. Greater increases were noted in HDL cholesterol level (mean difference in change, 0.18 mmol/L; P = 0.001) in the low-carbohydrate diet participants versus the low-fat diet participants.

"The low-carbohydrate diet was more effective for weight loss and cardiovascular risk factor reduction than the low-fat diet," the authors write.

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