Overweight women with insulin resistance lose more weight after three months on a lower-carbohydrate diet than on a traditional low-fat diet, according to a new study presented at The Endocrine Society’s 92nd Annual Meeting on June 19.
“The typical diet that physicians recommend for weight loss is a low-fat diet,” said the study’s lead author, Raymond Plodkowski, MD, chief of endocrinology, nutrition and metabolism at the University of Nevada School of Medicine, Reno. “However, as this study shows, not all people have the same response to diets.”
As reported by Nutrition Horizon, 45 obese women between the ages of 18 and 65 years—all insulin resistant—participated in the study. Researchers randomly assigned the women to a low-fat or lower-carb diet. The groups did not differ significantly in average body weight. On average, women in the low-fat diet group weighed 213 pounds, while women in the other group weighed 223 pounds.
The composition of the low-fat diet was 60 percent of calories from carbs, 20 percent from fat and 20 percent from protein. Although the lower-carb diet also had 20 percent of calories from protein, it had 45 percent from carbs and 35 percent from primarily unsaturated fats, such as nuts. Menus included a minimum of two fruits and three vegetable servings a day.
Use of prepared meals helped make the structured diets easier and more palatable for the dieters. “We wanted to make this study real-world—anyone could follow this plan by making moderate changes as part of a healthy menu,” Plodkowski said.
Both groups lost weight at each monthly weigh-in, but by 12 weeks, the insulin resistant group receiving the lower-carb diet lost significantly more weight, 19.6 pounds versus 16.2 pounds in the low-fat diet group—approximately 21 percent more on average.