There are 50+ reasons a low-fat diet won’t help you lose weight 38



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For years now we’ve been told to shun fat in order to maintain a healthy weight, and as a result a staggering array of low-fat foods are on our grocery shelves.

But today an analysis of more than 50 previous studies has confirmed something many of us have suspected all along: low-fat diets do not help us lose weight.

Published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, the meta-analysis finds low-fat diets do not lead to greater weight loss in the long term compared to higher-fat diets (eg, low-carbohydrate or Mediterranean diets) of similar intensity.

“There is no good evidence for recommending low-fat diets,” says lead author Dr Deirdre Tobias from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA. “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 all randomised trials comparing the effectiveness of low-fat diets to other diets, including no diet at all.

They took into account the intensity of the diets, which ranged from just pamphlets or instructions at the beginning of the programme to intensive multi-component programmes including counselling sessions, meetings with dieticians, food diaries, and cooking lessons.

Analysis of the outcomes for almost 70,000 adults showed no difference in the average weight loss between reduced-fat diets and higher-fat diets.

Indeed, reduced-fat diets only led to greater weight loss when compared with no diet at all, and resulted in less weight loss compared with low-carbohydrate interventions, although differences in weight change were small, averaging 1.5 kilos.

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

Dr Joanna McMillan, Nutritionist and Accredited Practising Dietitian, says it’s no surprise that the finding show that low-fat diets don’t work, but warns that the research does not point to low-carb diets as the solution. Instead, she suggests a “middle-ground”  approach, such as the Mediterranean or newly studied Nordic diet. 

She also points out that what we eat is only part of the story, “We absolutely have to move towards a lifestyle change approach and one that emphasises real foods that satiate, while teaching good eating habits, adherence to appetite and satiety cues, as well as changing lifestyle behaviours including sedentary living, stress management, sleep and exercise.”

Are you surprised to learn that low-fat diets aren’t all they’re cracked up to be? 

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. The phrase “lose weight” sabotages from the outset. The subconscious mind will go looking for that which is lost.

  2. The only fats that should be avoided are the ones from fast food restaurants. When it comes to diets I honestly believe people overthink what needs to be done. Regardless, It is great they plan on becoming healthier either by diet or exercise. I decided to try and cant say anything bad about it. Like always nothing works unless you do!

  3. Losing or keeping weight off gets more difficult as I age, the metabolism has slowed and I wonder how long it will be before I stop eating altogether. Lol. It looks like the red wine consumption will have to be adjusted and that’s enough to bring tears to my eyes.

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  4. Plus I read somewhere recently (on Starts at 60?) that once you are over 70, dieting is not good for you, anyway. I’ll give it a miss, thanks.

  5. Good comment so why do magazine sell the moist when articles on diets are in them . weight loss programs are million dollar business

  6. Low sugar and low carb and low calorie count is all that works, low fat foods are loaded with salt and sugar. Don’t eat processed food. You will lose weight if you follow these guidlines. Eat real fredh tood.

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    • Not often these days you see anyone mention the “c” word – calorie. Seems everyone tries every fad under the sun to lose weight these days except the only one that works. Counting calories. If you consume more calories than you need day to day you will not lose weight. Everything has a calorie count. Even fat. One pound of body fat is equal to 3000 calories, which means you need to consume 3000 calories less than your body requires to lose one pound of body fat. Once a person gets this fact through their heads, then they can be serious about losing weight.

  7. I am in Broken Hill resting up at the moment after cycling from Perth via Albany & Esperance to Newcastle — I cannot eat enough each day to gain weight but will have to be very very careful when I get back to normal exercise at home to not blow up in weight— every day I have a hunger attack and go berserk if FOOD is available but burn it off the next— lean muscle like a greyhound or at least a whippet— I am 64 and smashing it on this cycle ride !!!

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    • Congratulations Alan, wow, well done. Also sounds like you know the background to eating for sustenance.

    • It’s not a charity ride — there are 8 other riders just doing it for fun– oldest bloke is 72 and some lady riders—-we average about the 120 km mark in a 5 to 6 day stretches depending on the accommodation available —since leaving Perth on 16 th September we have had about 3 days with a good tail winds and the rest have been hard headwinds —- we have had not one drop of rain on any ride days so far— a small shower in Albany from memory— great ride and a great effort by a bunch of grey haired seniors —no records broken except for swearing on the Nullarbor !!!

    • It is incredible but we still have 1200 kms to ride to Newcastle in pretty hot weather—- nobody going to say that was a great ride to broken hill from Perth when we all live in Newcastle and are on the Indian pacific heading to Sydney with our bicycles drinking beer !!!

    • Allison I cycled into broken hill the other day from Olary in screaming heat and was totally wasted and stopped at a Coles express service station and used my credit card tap & go for a 2 litre plastic bottle cold milk and a snickers bar– didn’t touch the sides as I downed the lot—must have looked like a feral dog to the other customers but gee I was hungry for energy food— not really a healthy choice

    • Congrats Alan. Great that you are doing it ok. Some of us do it harder. Will look forward to your posts on how you are going with your life.

    • I do my best and I do love cycling— my brooks leather cycling seat is so good I do not even know I have been on a bike all day –your seat is everything !!!

    • Brooks B17 leather bike seat— approx $120 dollars– only problem is you need to sit on it whilst riding for a good 1000 kms to be at one with your bum and then it’s good as gold

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