A Call for a Low-Carb Diet
People who avoid carbohydrates and eat more fat, even saturated fat, lose more body fat and have fewer cardiovascular risks than people who follow the low-fat diet that health authorities have favored for decades, a major new study shows.
“To my knowledge, this is one of the first long-term trials that’s given these diets without calorie restrictions,” said Dariush Mozaffarian, the dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, who was not involved in the new study. “It shows that in a free-living setting, cutting your carbs helps you lose weight without focusing on calories. And that’s really important because someone can change what they eat more easily than trying to cut down on their calories.”
Diets low in carbohydrates and higher in fat and protein have been commonly used for weight loss since Dr. Robert Atkins popularized the approach in the 1970s. Among the longstanding criticisms is that these diets cause people to lose weight in the form of water instead of body fat, and thatcholesterol and other heart disease risk factors climb because dieters invariably raise their intake of saturated fat by eating more meat and dairy.
Many nutritionists and health authorities have “actively advised against” low-carbohydrate diets, said the lead author of the new study, Dr. Lydia A. Bazzano of the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. “It’s been thought that your saturated fat is, of course, going to increase, and then your cholesterol is going to go up,” she said. “And then bad things will happen in general.”
The new study [link] showed that was not the case.
By the end of the yearlong trial, people in the low-carbohydrate group had lost about eight pounds more on average than those in the low-fat group. They had significantly greater reductions in body fat than the low-fat group, and improvements in lean muscle mass — even though neither group changed their levels of physical activity.
Maybe we can reverse this Big Government fail. Between this study and the publicity generated by the LeBron low carb diet one might hope the news has broken through. And do keep in mind - estimates are that the obesity epidemic is costing the United States roughly $150 billion per year, so getting on the path to a solution presents a huge payoff. More dramatic cost estimates are here, including this factoid:
$3.4 billion -- Cars are burning around 938 million gallons of gasoline per year more than they would if Americans weighed what they did in 1960.
Get the bloated Al Gore on the line. And speaking of Al, get a comparable estimate for added private jet fuel consumption attributable to heavier passengers.
ERRATA: An old tirade here.