Science says low fat diets don't help losing weight

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Low fat diets don’t lead to greater weight loss in the long term compared to higher fat diets such as low carb or the Mediterranean diet, according to the latest research.

“There is no good evidence for recommending low fat diets,” says Dr Deirdre Tobias from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

“Behind current dietary advice to cut out the fat, which contains more than twice the calories per gram of carbohydrates and protein, the thinking is that simply reducing fat intake will naturally lead to weight loss. But our robust evidence clearly suggests otherwise.”

Tobias and colleagues did a systematic review of randomised trials comparing the effectiveness of low fat diets to other diets.

The analysis of 53 studies involving 68,128 adults showed no difference in the average weight loss between reduced fat diets and higher fat diets.

“The science does not support low fat diets as the optimal long term weight loss strategy,” Tobias says.

He says more research is needed to identify better approaches for long term weight loss and weight maintenance to effectively address the obesity epidemic.

The diet analysis is published in the Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology journal.

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