NIHR Signal | May 2018 | Low fat or low carbohydrate diets seem just as effective for weight loss
NIHR’s Dissemination Portal looks at the impact of a low fat or low carbohydrate diet on weight loss. The researchers report no difference between groups in a randomised controlled trial in weight loss by 12 months. Those participants in the low fat group lost on average 5.3kg in weight, compared with -6.0 kg in the low carbohydrate group. There was no difference in the range of weight loss among individuals in both groups (NIHR).
Importance: Dietary modification remains key to successful weight loss. Yet, no one dietary strategy is consistently superior to others for the general population. Previous research suggests genotype or insulin-glucose dynamics may modify the effects of diets.
Objective: To determine the effect of a healthy low-fat (HLF) diet vs a healthy low-carbohydrate (HLC) diet on weight change and if genotype pattern or insulin secretion are related to the dietary effects on weight loss.
Design, Setting, and Participants: The Diet Intervention Examining The Factors Interacting with Treatment Success (DIETFITS) randomized clinical trial included 609 adults aged 18 to 50 years without diabetes with a body mass index between 28 and 40. The trial enrollment was from January 29, 2013, through April 14, 2015; the date of final follow-up was May 16, 2016. Participants were randomized to the 12-month HLF or HLC diet. The study also tested whether 3 single-nucleotide polymorphism multilocus genotype responsiveness patterns or insulin secretion (INS-30; blood concentration of insulin 30 minutes after a glucose challenge) were associated with weight loss. Interventions: Health educators delivered the behavior modification intervention to HLF (n = 305) and HLC (n = 304) participants via 22 diet-specific small group sessions administered over 12 months. The sessions focused on ways to achieve the lowest fat or carbohydrate intake that could be maintained long-term and emphasized diet quality.
Main Outcomes and Measures: Primary outcome was 12-month weight change and determination of whether there were significant interactions among diet type and genotype pattern, diet and insulin secretion, and diet and weight loss.
Results: Among 609 participants randomized (mean age, 40 [SD, 7] years; 57% women; mean body mass index, 33 [SD, 3]; 244 [40%] had a low-fat genotype; 180 [30%] had a low-carbohydrate genotype; mean baseline INS-30, 93 muIU/mL), 481 (79%) completed the trial. In the HLF vs HLC diets, respectively, the mean 12-month macronutrient distributions were 48% vs 30% for carbohydrates, 29% vs 45% for fat, and 21% vs 23% for protein. Weight change at 12 months was -5.3 kg for the HLF diet vs -6.0 kg for the HLC diet (mean between-group difference, 0.7 kg [95% CI, -0.2 to 1.6 kg]). There was no significant diet-genotype pattern interaction (P = .20) or diet-insulin secretion (INS-30) interaction (P = .47) with 12-month weight loss. There were 18 adverse events or serious adverse events that were evenly distributed across the 2 diet groups. Conclusions and Relevance: In this 12-month weight loss diet study, there 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 was associated with the dietary effects on weight loss. In the context of these 2 common weight loss diet approaches, neither of the 2 hypothesized predisposing factors was helpful in identifying which diet was better for whom. Trial Registration: clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT01826591.
Gardner, C. D.,Trepanowski, J. F.,Del Gobbo, L. C.,Hauser, M. E.,Rigdon, J.,Ioannidis, J. P. A.,Desai, M.,King, A. C.|Effect of Low-Fat vs Low-Carbohydrate Diet on 12-Month Weight Loss in Overweight Adults and the Association With Genotype Pattern or Insulin Secretion: The DIETFITS Randomized Clinical Trial| Jama |Vol.319| Issue 7| 2018 Published on 22 February 2018
This article is available to NHS staff via OpenAthens here