Low-carb and low-fat diets face off in new Stanford study


Gene activity is undoubtedly involved in the process of gaining and losing weight, this study simply shows that these particular predisposing variants (many others have also been identified) are now unable to lead us toward personalized, magic wand diet plans. For instance, a few women whose DNA matched their diet and were fanatic about calorie-counts and exercise shed pounds, making the matched group look great. "As it turns out, that may not be the case at all", writes Emily Price for Fortune.

He and colleagues investigated the biological nuances that that might encourage a person's body to favor a low-carb diet over a low-fat diet with weight loss as the main objective. And regardless of your diet, choose to eat less sugar, less refine flout and as many vegetables as possible. "Go for whole foods, whether that is a wheatberry salad or grass-fed beef", it advises.

The latest study made sure participants stuck to their diets so the results would be more accurate.

Stanford University researchers examined this idea with 600 overweight adults who underwent genetic and insulin testing before being randomly assigned to reduce fat or carbohydrate intake.

But who lost weight and how much had nearly nothing to do with their genetic pattern or which diet they were on, Gardner and colleagues found.

Asked for her perspective, Reshmi Srinath, MD, director of the Weight and Metabolism Management Program at Mount Sinai Hospital and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, who was not involved with the study, told MedPage Today, "The weight loss results are comparable to prior studies where we see weight loss really is dependent on compliance rather than the diet itself".

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"T$3 here was no significant difference in weight change between a healthy low-fat diet vs a healthy low-carbohydrate diet, and neither genotype pattern nor baseline insulin secretion were associated with the dietary effects on weight loss", according to the paper.

All were randomised into one of two dietary groups - low-carbohydrate or low-fat.

The biggest takeaway from the study is that the strategy for losing weight - whether you're following a low-fat or a low-carb approach - is very similar. This difference was too small to rule out the possibility that it was due to chance, and participants typically remained obese. However, in this study, Dr. Gardner said, "there was no indication that a low carb diet was any better for those with insulin resistance than a low-fat diet". "'It's time for USA and other national policies to stop focusing on calories and calorie counting'". Gardner told Live Science. "You can be successful on either one".

One of the companies that sells DNA tests that promise to guide customers to the most-likely-to-succeed diet, Pathway Genomics, did not respond to requests for comment.

"That does not close the door on the possibility that there are other genotype "signatures" or patterns that could be useful", Gardner said by email. "We have gobs of data that we can use in secondary, exploratory studies", he said. His research team is "continuing to delve into their databanks, now asking if the microbiome, epigenetics or a different gene expression pattern can clue them in to why there's such drastic variability between dieting individuals", it continues.