Low fat diets do not help long-term weight loss

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A comprehensive meta-analysis has found low-fat dietary interventions do not lead to greater weight loss than low-carbohydrate and other higher-fat diets of a similar intensity, irrespective of weight loss intention. The systematic review included 68,128 participants in 53 randomised controlled trials with at least 1 year follow-up. It found low-carbohydrate weight loss diets led to an average 1·15 kg greater long-term weight loss than low-fat diets, with minimal between-study heterogeneity. The researchers found no difference between low-fat and other higher-fat dietary interventions (0·36 kg). Compared with groups only following their usual diet, low-fat diets led to a 5·41 kg greater weight loss. “Comparisons of similar intervention intensity conclude that dietary interventions that aim to reduce total fat intake lead to significantly less weight loss compared with higher-fat, low-carbohydrate diets”, the researchers wrote. “Health and nutrition guidelines should cease recommending low-fat diets for weight loss in view of the clear absence of long-term efficacy when compared with other similar intensity dietary interventions.”

The review has been published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology,

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