Low-carb diets are all the rage right now. With options like the Atkins diet, the South Beach diet, and Paleo on the table, there is no shortage of routes to take to lose those few extra pounds by cutting carbs.
Not that long ago, everyone was doing a low-fat diet. Ornish or Rosemary Conley diets were all the talk at the soccer games and play dates.
The answer is: it doesn't matter.
A new study suggests that either route will produce very similar results.
48 previous studies on low-carb and low fat-diets, that included a total of 7,286 overweight and obese adults, were scoured by researchers led by Bradley Johnston, assistant professor of clinical epidemiology at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.
They found that after six months of dieting, participants on low-carb diets, as well as low-fat diets, all lost an average of 18 pounds.
So what should be taken away from this? Johnson says it's more important to go with the diet that you will have an easier time sticking to, rather than what the latest trend may be.
"There may be important differences to some individual clinicians or some individual dieters, but overall the differences are minimal," Johnston said.
Linda Van Horn of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, who wrote an editorial that was attached to the study, says that severely limiting either carbs or fat can be hazardous.
She says going solely with a low-carb diet or low-fat diet, which eliminates those important macronutrients like fat, carbs, and protein, risks missing out on good foods that "actually have a host of nutrients to them".
Of course, this new study doens't mean the debate is over. Lauri Wright, registered dietitian nutritionist and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics said, "With the obesity epidemic, everyone is really interested in the best way, the easiest way to lose weight,"
"For every one study that shows the low-carb is better, then there's a counter-study that shows that low-fat is better. And it's very confusing."
Yes. Yes it is confusing.
She stresses nutrition over weight-loss.
"We're not only trying to lose weight, but we're also trying to prevent diseases, too. We want to make sure the diet is not only low in calories, but it has really high-quality nutrition value."
Good luck to all of you dieters out there! Do you prefer a low-carb diet or a low-fat diet?