Diet and Weight Loss: It’s Time to Curb Carbs

Researchers assigned 148 obese men and women—they averaged about 215 pounds—to either a “low-carb” diet (goal: less than 40 grams of carbs a day) or a “low-fat” diet (goal: less than 30 percent of calories from fat).


After one year, people on the low-carb diet had lost more weight (12 pounds) than those on the low-fat diet (4 pounds). That’s not surprising, given that people in the low-carb group made bigger changes.

They cut carbs from 242 grams a day to 127 grams (and cut fat from 76 grams to 69 grams). The low-fat group cut fat from 35 percent of calories to 30 percent (from 81 grams a day to 52 grams).

What’s more, triglycerides were lower and HDL (“good”) cholesterol was higher in the low-carb group, but there was no difference between groups in waist size, blood pressure, blood sugar, insulin, or LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.

What to do: If you want to lose weight, try cutting carbs. But don’t load up on fat (or anything else). Odds are, people who cut carbs also cut fat (and calories) because many carbs—like pizza, french fries, burritos, pad thai, sandwiches, lasagna, cookies, cakes, ice cream, doughnuts, chips, popcorn, pastries, and chocolate—are also high in fat.

Source: Ann. Intern. Med. 2014. doi:10.7326/M14-0180.


Other relevant links:


2 Replies to “Diet and Weight Loss: It’s Time to Curb Carbs”

  1. I don’t understand why no one has pointed out that much of the difference in weight loss between the two groups can be explained by calories alone! If you look at the data reported from follow ups at 3, 6, 12mo, you’ll see that on average the “low carb” group ate about 160 calories less per day for the first 6mo and about 79 calories less per day for the second 6 months of the study. Even assuming the difference was the lower number the whole study, 79 kcal x 365 = 28,835/3500 kcals in 1 lb = 8.2 lbs. I also have an issue with the study title, because the “low fat” diet wasn’t really low fat and the low carb diet wasn’t actually that low in carbs.
    -Jacqueline Zimmerman, MS, RD

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *