Low-Fat or Low-Carb Diet--Which Is Better for Weight Loss?

Arefa Cassoobhoy, MD, MPH


March 16, 2018

Hello. I'm Dr Arefa Cassoobhoy, a practicing internist, Medscape advisor, and senior medical director for WebMD. Welcome to Medscape Morning Report, our 1-minute news story for primary care.

With today's obesity epidemic, finding the best weight loss diet has become a mission. A new study explores whether there is a clear winner in the debate between a low-carb and a low-fat diet.

Research suggests that people may benefit from individualized weight loss programs based on genotype patterns or baseline insulin secretion. Genotype patterns refer to three genes important for fat and carb metabolism.

In a recent randomized clinical trial,[1] about 600 overweight adults were followed for weight loss changes. Among this group, 40% had a genotype that is responsive to low fat, and 30% had a low-carb-responsive genotype. Both groups lost about 5 to 6 kg over a year.

The weight loss difference between a low-fat and a low-carb diet wasn't significant. And specific genotype patterns and insulin secretion did not predict dietary effects on successful weight loss.

We do need more research, but for now we can tell our patients that the key to successful weight loss is to follow a diet strategy that's healthy and works for them long-term.

Follow Dr Cassoobhoy on Twitter at @ArefaMD


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