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Low-calorie more effective than low-fat
Sunday, September 14, 2003 9:12 am Email this article
Long-term weight loss with low-fat diets is "very small" according to according to a review paper on low-fat diets published in Obesity Reveiws. They concluded that "low-fat diets are as [effective] as other weight-reducing diets for achieving sustained weight loss, but not more so." However, their results suggest that low-calorie diets are more effective.
Average weight loss after six months was 3.1 pounds greater in the low-calorie groups than in the low-fat groups (a weight loss 14.3 pounds in the control group versus 11.2 pounds). This analysis included four studies.
Average weight loss after one year was 2.4 pounds greater in the low-calorie groups than in the low-fat groups (a weight loss 7.5 pounds in the low-calorie group versus 5.1 pounds in the low-fat group). This analysis included five studies.
Average weight loss after a year-and-one-half was 5.1 pounds greater in the low-calorie groups than in the low-fat groups (a weight loss 5.1 pounds in the low-calorie group versus a weight gain of 0.2 pounds in the low-fat group). This analysis included three studies.
Two of three studies reported greater weight loss after a year-and-one-half in the control group than in the low-fat group.
The authors looked at six studies that included a total of 594 people.
One study lasted 3 months. Another study lasted 4 months. Three other studies lasted 6 months. And the final study lasted 18 months.
Most of the studies instructed subjects to follow a diet of 1000 to 1500 calories while limiting fat to 20 percent of calories or less than 20 or 30 grams per day.
Pirozzo S, Summerbell C, Cameron C, Glasziou P. Should we recommend low-fat diets for obesity? Obes Rev. 2003 May, 4(2):83-90.
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