In the month of October 2015, two very important meta analysis studies were done comparing low fat and low carbohydrate diets. One done by the Lancet looked at 53 studies since the 1960s, featured 68,000 people and found that overall there were more benefits to the low carbohydrate diet when it came to weight loss.
But a different study published in the PLOS was perhaps more significant but didn’t receive as much media attention. It was conducted by the excellent Dr Jonathan Sackner Bernstein who is an academic cardiologist with international recognition in the clinical research and regulatory communities. He also served as a senior consultant at the FDA. Here are some key points of his meta analysis study:
- He wanted doctors to have clear advice on what diets to recommend to their patients so for the first time in a meta analysis study, probability statistics were included.
- There were very thorough terms on what a low fat and low carb diet could be. Studies often include low carb at 45% of carbs where with this study the requirements were a more accurate 25%.
- The results found that for weight loss there was a 99% chance of losing more weight on a low carbohydrate diet than a low fat diet.
- When these beneficial results to a lower carbohydrate diet have been shown in the past, experts often state that the ‘weight loss is clear but we don’t know about the risk factors”. Well Dr Sackner Bernstein and his team used the studies to calculate the risk factors. They found that there was a 98% chance of less risk factors for heart health or stroke with the low carbohydrate diet.
For those wanting to know more, here is a terrific interview about the study with Dr Sackner Bernstein and our good friend Sam Feltham: http://live.smashthefat.com/comparing-low-carbohydrate-and-low-fat-diets/
Sam has also done a lot of work in this area and recommends for anyone wanting to lose weight very quickly, eating real foods like in the pyramid above with just 50 grams of carbohydrate a day is recommended (mainly from vegetables) for 4 weeks. And for those wanting to maintain weight, eating real foods with somewhere between 130 and 200 grams of carbohydrate a day, depending on your level of exercise and activity, is recommended.
Here is the actual meta analysis study too: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0139817