Confused whether to follow a low-fat diet or a low-carb diet to shed weight? Reducing either carbohydrates or fats from the diet shaves off excess weight in about the same proportion, claims a new study.
Published in the journal JAMA, the study stated that the fundamental strategy for losing weight with either a low-fat or a low-carb approach is the same -- eat less sugar, less refined flour and as many vegetables as possible. Go for whole foods, whether that is a wheatberry salad or grass-fed beef.
The finding puts an end to a long-argued debate about "what's the best diet".
"We've all heard stories of a friend who went on one diet -- it worked great -- and then another friend tried the same diet, and it didn't work at all," said Christopher Gardner, Professor of medicine at Stanford University in California.
"It's because we're all very different, and we're just starting to understand the reasons for this diversity. May be we shouldn't be asking what's the best diet, but what's the best diet for whom?"
The team studied over 609 men and women, aged between 18 and 50 years. All were randomised into one of two dietary groups -- low-carbohydrate or low-fat. Each group was instructed to maintain the diet for one year.
The results showed that individuals in the two groups had lost, on an average, 13 pounds.
Further, immense weight loss variability was observed among the participants of both the groups. Some dropped upward of 60 pounds, while others gained close to 15 or 20 pounds.
The researchers also found no associations between the genotype pattern or baseline insulin levels and a propensity to succeed on either diet.
"On both sides, we heard from people who had lost the most weight that we had helped them change their relationship to food, and that now they were more thoughtful about how they ate," Gardner noted.