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Effects of a ketogenic diet(low carbohydrate) vs.

A low fat diet on weight loss and body composition :

In recent times there has been much debate among fitness enthusiasts, dieticians and nutritionists about the effects of a ketogenic diet as opposed to the conventional low fat diet on weight loss and body. This paper via relevant research studies, expert opinions and dieter testimonials will attempt to resolve this debate. In an article, where a randomized controlled trial is conducted between two groups of 120 overweight, hyperlipidaemia volunteers from the community; Each
group is either put on a Low-carbohydrate diet (initially, <20 g of carbohydrate daily) plus nutritional supplementation, exercise recommendation, and group meetings, or low-fat diet (<30% energy from fat, <300 mg of cholesterol daily, and deficit of 500 to 1000 kcal/d) plus exercise recommendation and group meetings. The KPIs to be monitored during the trial were Body weight, body composition, fasting serum lipid levels, and tolerability. Results showed that : A greater proportion of the low-carbohydrate diet group than the low-fat diet group completed the study (76% vs. 57%; P = 0.02). At 24 weeks, weight loss was greater in the low-carbohydrate diet group than in the low-fat diet group (mean change, 12.9% vs. 6.7%; P < 0.001). Patients in both groups lost substantially more fat mass (change, 9.4 kg with the low-carbohydrate diet vs. 4.8 kg with the low-fat diet) than fat-free mass (change, 3.3 kg vs. 2.4 kg, respectively). Compared with recipients of the low-fat diet, recipients of the low-carbohydrate diet had greater decreases in serum triglyceride levels (change, 0.84 mmol/L vs. 0.31 mmol/L [74.2 mg/dL vs. 27.9 mg/dL]; P = 0.004) and greater increases in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels (0.14 mmol/L vs. 0.04 mmol/L [5.5 mg/dL vs. 1.6 mg/dL]; P < 0.001). Changes in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level did not differ statistically (0.04 mmol/L [1.6 mg/dL] with the low-carbohydrate diet and 0.19 mmol/L [7.4 mg/dL] with the low-fat diet; P = 0.2). Minor adverse effects were more frequent in the low-carbohydrate diet group. The conclusion of this trial was that compared with a low-fat diet, a low-carbohydrate diet program had better participant retention and greater weight loss. During active weight loss, serum triglyceride levels decreased more and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol level increased more with the low-carbohydrate diet than with the low-fat diet. (Yancy, Olsen, Guyton, 2004)

The view that low carb diets are better than low fat diets is also supported by ABC news channel which spoke about a trial conducted beteen three groups of obese patients. There patients were randomly assigned to a low-fat diet, a low-carb diet or a third eating plan, a Mediterranean diet, which includes lean protein and vegetables, along with lots of olive oil and nuts. After two years, the longest follow-up of any diet study to date, the diets varied in terms of weight loss results.

While low-fat dieters lost an average of 7.3 pounds over the two-year period, those following the Mediterranean diet shed 10.1 pounds. The low-carb dieters peeled off the most weight, losing an average of 12.1 pounds.
The low-carb diet makes you feel fuller and it's more satiating, so you're not as hungry that means it's easier to stick to that diet long term."( Stampfer , 2004) Therefore, the case for low carb diets is further propagated by the abovementioned trial reported by ABC news. In this trial lipid profile improvements are also noted in low carb dieters. A low-carb diet, by giving up pasta, and bread, and potatoes, lowers insulin levels in the body, and when there's less insulin, the body produces less harmful cholesterol."( Westman ,2008) Lyle Mc Donald , noted nutritionist and personal trainer in the USA , in his book Body recomposition raises an interesting point . Lyle says that trials and studies conducted to compare low fat vs. low carb dieters might not be accurate in the sense that low carb dieters invariably end up eating more protein than low fat dieters. Thus, it is the protein that has the effect on weight loss and not the carbs or fats. Lyles conclusion in his own words: for the most part, studies where protein is adequate (or at least close to it), varying carbs and fats within the context of an identical caloric intake tends to have a minimal overall effect. What effect is occasionally seen tends to be small and highly variable (some subjects do better with one diet than another but theres no consistent advantage). With the possible exception of extreme conditions (folks looking for super-leanness or folks who are super-obese), caloric intake is the greater determinant of results than the macronutrient composition .( Mcdonald,2008). The article of weight loss dieting in Wikipedia supports the view that in terms of weight loss calorie restriction is more important than the type of calorie being restricted. In other words, it says that there is not a substantial difference in weight loss or body composition between low fat dieters and low carb dieters. A more recent meta-analysis that included randomized controlled trials published after the Cochrane review[22][23][24] found that "low-carbohydrate, non-energyrestricted diets appear to be at least as effective as low-fat, energy-restricted diets in inducing weight loss for up to 1 year. However, potential favourable changes in triglyceride and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol values should be weighed against potential unfavourable changes in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol values when low-carbohydrate diets to induce weight loss are considered.( Cochrane Collaboration, 2002) In my personal opinion, I believe that a particular diets effectiveness depends a lot on a persons body type, metabolism and genetics. Therefore a person trying to lose weight needs to go by the trial and error and process of elimination method in terms of choosing the right diet.


1)Eric Westman ,Rona Bakst, William Yancy, Maren.k.Olsen, John R Guyton, A LowCarbohydrate, Ketogenic Diet versus a Low-Fat Diet To Treat Obesity and Hyperlipidemia May 18, 2004 vol. 140 no. 10 769-777. 2) ABC NEWS, JOHN MCKENZIE July 16, 2008 Low-Carb and Low-Fat Diets Face Off 3) Body Recomposition, Lyle Mc Donald, published 2008. 4) Dieting, Wikipedia (Cochrane Collaboration 2002)