Confusing Diet Study

The results from a diet study comparing low carb, Mediterranean, and low fat diets made the news the other day. As always, the results are not easily interpreted. Just look at the headlines this particular study inspired:

If I hadn’t seen it, I would not have believed that all these headlines refer to the same study!

So what did the study accomplish? The weight loss was not significant over the two years the study covered so it’s not much of an inspiration to someone that has a lot of pounds to shed.

The “low calorie” groups (Mediterranean and low fat) were allowed 1500 (women) and 1800 (men) calories. This was not a starvation experiment. The low carb group had no calorie restriction.

The resulting weight loss was highest for the low carb group, but still modest (14 pounds after two years). To me this is not surprising as:

The low-carbohydrate, non–restricted-calorie diet aimed to provide 20 g of carbohydrates per day for the 2-month induction phase, with a gradual increase to a maximum of 120 g per day to maintain the weight loss.

Apparently, the intent was to maintain rather than lose more weight as 120 grams of carbohydrates is too high for most people for weight loss.

While this study may be helpful in improving the status of low carb diets, it will take a long time before the “experts” will stop pushing for “low fat/healthy grain/saturated fat is bad for you” diets.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider to leave a comment or subscribe to the feed and get future articles delivered to your feed reader.


It really does take a long time to change a culture, doesn’t it? What I don’t understand is… in the 50’s, housewives would try to lose a few pounds by skipping the bun for their burger, and it seemed like overnight it flipped to low fat, high carb. And we’ve been getting fatter ever since!

OYB – You are so right. I have an old cookbook with a diet section and that’s exactly what it said there. Low fat is a disaster, and don’t get me started on saturated fats and fiber.
And what annoys me with these “studies” is that the researchers start out with an agenda. In this “study” they used the low fat diet as a bench mark, obviously expecting the best results from it. They also draw the conclusion that the Mediterranean diet is the best one as the 45 women (out of the 332 total) did best on it. Why are these 13% more significant than the remaining 87%?

Leave a comment