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  • People on a low-fat, high-carb diet had less anxiety and depression than those on low-carb diet

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
    Monday, August 06, 2018 1:21 pm Email this article

    People randomly assigned to either a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet for one year had lower scores for anxiety and depression than people who were randomly assigned to a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet according to a 2009 study from Australia.

    Both groups lost an average of 30 lbs after one year.

    “In conclusion, we found that despite similar weight loss after energy-restricted [high-fat, low-carb] and [low-fat, high-carb] diets for 12 months and rapid improvements in mood during the first 8 weeks with both diets, over the long term many of the benefits regressed in the [high-fat, low-carb] diet group such that participants on the [low-fat, high-carb] diet achieved better outcomes,” the authors of the study concluded.


    Mood Scores for High-Carb vs Low-Carb

    Depression scores for the low-fat, high-carb group versus the high-fat, low-carb group were roughly 3 versus 5.

    Anxiety scores were roughly 25 versus 28.

    Anger-hostility scores were roughly 15 versus 19.

    Fatigue scores were roughly 10 versus 16.

    Vigor-activity scores were roughly 26 versus 29.

    Confusion-bewilderment scores were roughly 4.5 versus 6.5.

    Total Mood Disturbance scores were roughly 20 versus 48.

    All of these numbers in this section are based on a rough eye-ball estimate from the attached figure (Figure 2 from the paper).

    Weight Loss: Both Groups Lost 30 lbs After One Year

    The high-carb, low-fat group lost an average of 30 lbs after one year, dropping from an average of 215 lbs down to 185 lbs.

    The high-fat, low-carb group also lost an average of 30 lbs after one year, dropping from an average of 211 lbs down to 181 lbs.

    Subjects: 106 overweight and obese people

    A total of 106 overweight and obese participants, who on average were 50-years-old and had a body mass index (BMI) of 33.7 were randomly assigned either to a calorie-restricted (1433-1672 calories) very low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet or to a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet for one year.

    Comments: There is No Perfect Diet

    I have come to realize that there is no perfect diet and no perfect food.

    All diets have advantages and disadvantages.

    This seems to be one of the advantages of low-fat, high-carb diets—less anxiety and depression—and one of the disadvantages of high-fat, low-carb diets—more anxiety and depression.


    Brinkworth GD, Buckley JD, Noakes M, Clifton PM, and Wilson CJ. Long-term effects of a very low-carbohydrate diet and a low-fat diet on mood and cognitive function. Arch Intern Med, 2009 Nov 9; 169(20): 1873-1880.

    The study is posted here.

    Author’s Contact Info

    Grant D. Brinkworth, PhD
    Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation
    Food and Nutritional Sciences
    PO Box 10041
    Adelaide, BC, South Australia 5000
    .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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