The randomized investigation (which is important) by Stanford University researchers assigned 609 overweight but otherwise healthy participants to a low-fat or low-carb diet and followed them for 12 months. "But it failed", Gardner says.
U.S. academics were attempting to end the long-running controversy over the merits of low-fat versus low-carbohydrate diets.
"At the end of the year, people on the low-fat diet lost an average of nearly 12 pounds, compared with about 13 pounds for the low-carb diet". What really matters is your relationship to food going forward. A stringof studies have found that the average person fares about as well on one diet as they do on the other.
"I had this whole rationale for why these three [DNA variants] would have an effect", said study co-author Christopher Gardner, citing a 2010 study he conducted that suggested genotypes could be the key to weight loss. To help curb mindless snacking, educators also told people to stop eating in their vehicle or in front of their television and to make an effort to routinely dine with friends and family, shop at farmers' markets and cook at home. Neither genetic predisposition nor insulin resistance was helpful in identifying which diet was better for whom, according to the study.
While that may be frustrating news for dieters, Gardner says there is a silver lining to the finding.
Additionally, the scientists found that there were no significant diet-insulin or diet-genotype interactions.
The individuals enrolled in this study may have "cheated, " Dr. Apovian suggests, by not adhered completely to the low-fat or low-carb plan.
Gardner discusses the results of the study in the video below. Now, the popular message is "eat less carbs".
Sure, it seems like a good idea: Lose weight following a diet that's tailored to your own unique genetic makeup instead of trying a one-size-fits-all approach.
Even though cutting calories wasn't a goal for these dieters, people might still achieve this by replacing junk food with healthier alternatives, said Kevin Hall, a researcher at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases who wasn't involved in the study. Some lost a lot more weight than others - 60 pounds or more, while others actually gained weight. What might have worked differently for the more successful losers?
Individual results after a year were quite varied - one person lost 60 pounds, while another gained 20 - but the average weight loss in each group was nearly identical: 11 pounds in the low-fat group, compared to 13 pounds in the low-carb group.
In short, we hypothesized that we would be able to use information from previous studies of the past decade to come up with factors that we could test that would help determine which diet is better for whom.
Rather, it has much more to do with behavior change: "mindfulness, putting the fork down, not eating in front of the screen, going to the farmer's market, cooking meals".
The people who lost the most weight said it wasn't so much what they ate, as how they thought about food.
Disclosure s : The authors report no relevant financial disclosures. Dr. Apovian has participated on advisory boards for Amylin, Merck, Johnson and Johnson, Arena, Nutrisystem, Zafgen, Sanofi-Aventis, Orexigen, EnteroMedics, Scientific Intake and Novo Nordisk and she is on the Takeda Speakers' Bureau for the medication Contrave and has an ownership interest in Science Smart LLC.
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