The Health Report - Weight Loss Diets

One of the best science programs focusing on health and nutrition is Australia's The Health Report, which is also podcast.

Last week, both of the topics were very interesting. The first topic was concerning a study on various weight loss diets: traditional low fat diet (with calorie restriction), Mediterranean diet (olive oil, nuts and fish), and low carb diet (with no calorie restrictions).

The results for both weight loss and blood fats was the same: low carb > Mediterranean diet > traditional low fat diet.

There are many ways to conduct such trials and comparing diets is very difficult. One interesting aspect was that there was no attempt to standardize calorie intakes. Emphasis was placed on diets which could be maintained as permanent life-styles and the ability to closely monitor the subjects. The result were extremely low dropout rates.

The debate will surely continue, but this one study in the New England Journal of Medicine does support my personal opinion that refined sugars are more of a concern than fats.

Shai I et al. Weight Loss with a Low-Carbohydrate, Mediterranean, or Low-Fat Diet. New England Journal of Medicine, July 17, 2008;359;3:229-241