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News Science

Low-Carb Diet Trumps Low-Fat Diet In Major New Study 588

An anonymous reader writes: The NY Times reports on a new study (abstract) showing that low-carb diets have better health benefits than low-fat diets in a test without calorie restrictions. "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. They actually lost lean muscle mass, which is a bad thing,' Dr. Mozaffarian said. 'Your balance of lean mass versus fat mass is much more important than weight. And that's a very important finding that shows why the low-carb, high-fat group did so metabolically well.' ... 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."
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Low-Carb Diet Trumps Low-Fat Diet In Major New Study

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  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @08:17AM (#47805667)

    Simply eat what your body needs... beyond that, exercise. That is why people are getting fat. Not because they're eating too much but because they're not doing anything.

    Look at what Michael Phelps ate. Something like three pizzas a day or something. And he was in great health at the time. Won Olympic gold medals and everything.

    The diet is the wrong way around to solve a problem. Which is how to stay healthy without exercising. Now maybe there is a diet that does that but most of them say "oh and exercise"... well, if you exercise the rest isn't important.

  • What is essential (Score:4, Informative)

    by manu0601 ( 2221348 ) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @08:50AM (#47805881)

    Polyinsaturated fats (omega 3 and omega 6) are essential. The body cannot produce them, and they are required for major functions. Cutting fat means starving the body for something it needs

    On the other hand, carbs are just fuel, and we can create glucose from amino acids if we need some.

  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @09:03AM (#47805983) Homepage

    The other problem is that cheap food is full of crap and calories that are not needed. all foods should have the calories and servings printed in large print on the front.

    Many poor people will eat an entire box of mac and cheese dinner for a meal, that is 1450 calories if prepared with skim milk or powdered milk. That is an UNGODLY amount of calories for a single meal, and they will feel hungry in 1 hour because it's all empty calories with no fiber or substance to it.

    If all someone eats is the pre-packaged processed crap in boxes, they will gain weight because a sane calorie amount of that meal is so small, they will over eat because they think they are eating a sensible meal but in reality the calorie count of the pre-packaged crap is sky high and not printed in big letters on the front.

  • by danaris ( 525051 ) <danaris@nosPAM.mac.com> on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @09:29AM (#47806181) Homepage

    Then why were people from 50 years ago not hugely fat? Because they were not eating all your little hipster diets and they were not fat.

    The lack of understanding betrayed by this is almost ludicrous.

    They didn't need to eat a "hipster diet" 50 years ago to avoid getting hugely fat, because an enormous part of the problem is the percentage of our food today that is processed, and the percentage that contains vast amounts of sugar (and particularly high fructose corn syrup). Which is exactly what (many of) the "hipster diets" strive to emulate.

    I realize that on Slashdot, where people tend to be highly math-oriented, it's a popular fallacy to believe that a calorie is a calorie is a calorie. However, studies like this one have been coming out for years now showing that that's simply not true.

    Some kinds of energy are easier for our bodies to extract from food than others. Some kinds of food make our bodies feel more full than others. And our bodies need more in terms of nutrition than just calories—so, contrary to one of your other posts, no, a 12 thousand calorie diet of pizza cannot be healthy, unless the toppings on that pizza are very carefully selected to provide the nutrients that our bodies actually need.

    It would be nice if nutrition were a simple formula, where you could just calculate calories in minus calories expended and come out with a nice, pleasing mathematical formula. But the human body isn't a spherical body in a vacuum, and "calorie" isn't a unit of nutrition, no matter how much you try to make it so.

    Dan Aris

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @09:48AM (#47806357)

    Strange, when I want to read wild speculation by uninformed nobodies I usually come here.

  • by Shaman ( 1148 ) <shaman.kos@net> on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @10:38AM (#47806817) Homepage

    That's because in actuality, you're eating healthier than someone eating two cups of rice with coconut milk in a thai chicken dish that most people think is healthy. A burger with fries is actually better in terms of protein:carb content and could be healthier. There's a lot of confusion about what "eating clean" means. It does not mean "eating low fat." The sushi on the other hand - not good for you, really. It's about 85% rice, which has virtually no nutrition beyond white carbs.

  • by hsthompson69 ( 1674722 ) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @11:25AM (#47807269)

    There are essential fatty acids.

    There are essential proteins.

    There is no such thing as an essential carbohydrate.

    Overeating is a tautology - you only decide if someone over ate based on *outcome*, not on *activity*. Two people who eat and exercise the same amount, but one gains weight, and only one is "overeating".

    The fact of the matter is that fat accumulation is driven by insulin. Insulin is driven by blood sugar. Blood sugar is driven by carbohydrates.

  • by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @11:47AM (#47807503) Homepage Journal

    There's a difference between denying the diet of our evolutionary ancestors, and having a problem with the way animals are treated in modern farms. I'm surprised by how often I have to point this out.

    It is pretty easy these days, to buy meat from local farms which treat the animals in more humane ways, yet still many of the vegan types say that isn't sufficient that NO animals should be sacrificed, even humanely, for human consumption.

  • by rahvin112 ( 446269 ) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @01:07PM (#47808487)

    That month of only a quart of water a day just sliced about 10 years off the life of your kidneys. If your urine is dark orange you are actively damaging your kidneys. There is a reason everyone (all doctors, all dieticians, everyone) says drink lots of water, the more water you push through your kidneys keeps the contaminant load lower and works the kidney's less. The less water you drink ups the contaminant load and force the kidney's to process it with less available flow. This damages the kidney's. This is basic knowledge about how the kidney's function and you shortened the life of your kidney's significantly. What you did was very very stupid.

  • by eleqtriq ( 170836 ) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @03:39PM (#47810035)

    You tried vegetarianism? Sounds like you tried pastatarianism. You were a junk food veggie, it's pretty clear. Because you're not blaming the " 'healthy' veggies", you're blaming the bread, pasta and sugar. You should eliminate empty calories no matter the diet you follow.

    As for phytoestrogen, there is NO science backing up your claims of man tits. Matter of fact, the only studies done so far show phytoestrogens have protecting qualities for regarding cancer.

    From Wiki: Evidence is accruing that phytoestrogens may have protective action against diverse health disorders, such as prostate, breast, bowel, and other cancers, cardiovascular disease, brain function disorders and osteoporosis,[1][6][7][8]

    I wouldn't call much of what you said an "educated guess."

    The only reason the low-fat diet prevailed was because it was lower calorie. This was a junk food low fat diet vs junk food low carb diet.

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling