Low-carb > low-fat

Big news in health this week. A major new study has shown that eating a low-carb diet is healthier than eating a low-fat diet.

From the New York Times story about the study:

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.

While the low-fat group did lose weight, they appeared to lose more muscle than fat.

And this:

In the end, people in the low-carbohydrate group saw markers of inflammation and triglycerides — a type of fat that circulates in the blood — plunge. Their HDL, the so-called good cholesterol, rose more sharply than it did for people in the low-fat group.

Blood pressure, total cholesterol and LDL, the so-called bad cholesterol, stayed about the same for people in each group.

Nonetheless, those on the low-carbohydrate diet ultimately did so well that they managed to lower their Framingham risk scores, which calculate the likelihood of a heart attack within the next 10 years. The low-fat group on average had no improvement in their scores.

This story, that a low-fat diet is less beneficial than previously assumed, has been brewing quietly for the past decade. I switched to a mostly low-carb, high-fat diet in 2009 and very quickly lost 20 pounds without any exercise routine. And my blood work has been excellent since then.

Conventional wisdom is hard to turn around, but it finally seems it could happen on this topic. So many people have followed bad advice since the low-fat guidelines became a sort of dogma in the 1970’s. And obesity has only skyrocketed since then. At least, maybe we can now begin to take a fresh approach to what it means to eat a healthy diet.