I’m having a debate in a Norwegian paper with some official “nutrition experts”. They claimed that weight loss studies do not show any advantage for low carb diets. Unbelievably enough, that is what many so called experts still believe.
It’s either ignorance or science denial.
There are at least thirteen [updated:16] modern high quality trials that have shown significantly better weight loss with low carb diets. Here they are:
Randomized controlled trials showing significantly more weight loss with low carb diets
- Brehm BJ, et al. A Randomized Trial Comparing a Very Low Carbohydrate Diet and a Calorie-Restricted Low Fat Diet on Body Weight and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Healthy Women. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2003;88:1617–1623.
- Samaha FF, et al. A Low-Carbohydrate as Compared with a Low-Fat Diet in Severe Obesity. N Engl J Med 2003;348:2074–81.
- Sondike SB, et al. Effects of a low-carbohydrate diet on weight loss and cardiovascular risk factor in overweight adolescents. J Pediatr. 2003 Mar;142(3):253–8.
- Aude YW, et al. The National Cholesterol Education Program Diet vs a Diet Lower in Carbohydrates and Higher in Protein and Monounsaturated Fat. A Randomized Trial. Arch Intern Med. 2004;164:2141–2146.
- Volek JS, et al. Comparison of energy-restricted very low-carbohydrate and low-fat diets on weight loss and body composition in overweight men and women. Nutrition & Metabolism 2004, 1:13.
- Yancy WS Jr, et al. A Low-Carbohydrate, Ketogenic Diet versus a Low-Fat Diet To Treat Obesity and Hyperlipidemia. A Randomized, Controlled Trial. Ann Intern Med. 2004;140:769–777.
- Nichols-Richardsson SM, et al. Perceived Hunger Is Lower and Weight Loss Is Greater in Overweight Premenopausal Women Consuming a Low-Carbohydrate/High- Protein vs High-Carbohydrate/Low-Fat Diet. J Am Diet Assoc. 2005;105:1433–1437.
- Gardner CD, et al. Comparison of the Atkins, Zone, Ornish, and learn Diets for Change in Weight and Related Risk Factors Among Overweight Premenopausal Women. The a to z Weight Loss Study: A Randomized Trial. JAMA. 2007;297:969–977.
- Shai I, et al. Weight loss with a low-carbohydrate, mediterranean, or low-fat diet. N Engl J Med 2008;359(3);229–41.
- Krebs NF, et al. Efficacy and Safety of a High Protein, Low Carbohydrate Diet for Weight Loss in Severely Obese Adolescents. J Pediatr 2010;157:252-8.
- Summer SS, et al. Adiponectin Changes in Relation to the Macronutrient Composition of a Weight-Loss Diet. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2011 Mar 31. [Epub ahead of print]
- Daly ME, et al. Short-term effects of severe dietary carbohydrate-restriction advice in Type 2 diabetes–a randomized controlled trial. Diabet Med. 2006 Jan;23(1):15–20.
- Westman EC, et al. The effect of a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet versus a low- glycemic index diet on glycemic control in type 2 diabetes mellitus. Nutr. Metab (Lond.)2008 Dec 19;5:36.
The first eleven studies in the list are weight loss trials, the last two are studies on type 2-diabetics (usually overweight) showing the same effect. Many of the studies are of six months or one year duration, one of them (Shai et al) is two years long.
All of these studies show significantly more weight loss for the group that were adviced to eat a low carb diet (Atkins, in most cases).
As far as I know the opposite has never been shown: low carb has never lost a weight loss trial significantly. This means that low carb is winning versus the failed low fat/low calorie advice by 13-0!
Feel free to let me know of any exceptions (or more examples) in the comments.
Update an expert
It’s not OK for “experts” to keep denying all these modern trials. It’s time for them to take the science seriously.
Feel free to copy or link to this list, if you encounter an expert who needs an update.
Update Jul 25, 2011
Another one, making it 14 – 0:
- Dyson PA, et al. A low-carbohydrate diet is more effective in reducing body weight than healthy eating in both diabetic and non-diabetic subjects. Diabet Med. 2007 Dec;24(12):1430-5.
Update Dec 4, 2011
Two more, making it 16 – 0:
- Keogh JB, et al. Effects of weight loss from a very-low-carbohydrate diet on endothelial function and markers of cardiovascular disease risk in subjects with abdominal obesity. Am J Clin Nutr 2008;87:567–76.
- Halyburton AK, et al. Low- and high-carbohydrate weight-loss diets have similar effects on mood but not cognitive performance. Am J Clin Nutr 2007;86:580–7.