Thursday, August 12, 2010

Low-Carb Beats Low-Fat for Cholesterol Benefits

Source: CTV News (Summary by NIM)

When it comes to weight loss, a deficit of 3,500 calories equals one pound of fat lost. How elementary; it's like learning your ABC's - you know this by now. How you choose to cut those calories out is not super important, but the actual breakdown of your diet may have an impact on the pattern of weight loss you experience. According to researchers, low-fat and low-carb diets are equally effective for weight loss, but one of these patterns of eating has benefits that go way beyond mere weight loss.

Published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the study followed 307 adults over two years. Half of those people followed a low-carb diet and the other half followed a low-fat diet. In terms of losing weight, both diets worked just fine.

However, if you happen to be concerned about the health of your heart, and even if you're not, a low-carb diet appears to have a 'bonus' effect. A low-carb diet not only helps you lose weight, but it can improve your levels of 'good' (or HDL) cholesterol, according to the research findings. Both diets improved HDL levels, but the low-carb diet worked twice as well with a 23% improvement, versus a 12% increase on the low-fat diet.

In the end, though, losing weight itself appears to have been the main reason for the overall improvement in the health of the participants. According to the study's leader, "It doesn't make a difference for weight loss how you get there," as long as you get there!

Read more at CTV News (Aug. 3, 2010) in the article called "Low-carb diet better at boosting 'good' cholesterol".