06/05/2009 - News

Please Pass the Couscous

By: June Chen, MD

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Are you always looking for the healthiest and most effective diet? In the July 17, 2008 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers reported that both a low-carbohydrate diet and a Mediterranean-style diet may be effective alternatives to a low-fat diet.

Are you always looking for the healthiest and most effective diet? In the July 17, 2008 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers reported that both a low-carbohydrate diet and a Mediterranean-style diet may be effective alternatives to a low-fat diet . In addition, low-carb and Mediterranean diets seem to have more favorable effects on weight loss and lipid changes than a low-fat diet.

In this two-year study, nearly 85% of the 322 middle-aged, moderately obese participants were maintained on one of these three diets for the entire follow-up period. The researchers found that the Mediterranean-diet (high vegetable and low meat) group consumed the largest amount of dietary fiber and had the highest ratio of monounsaturated to saturated fat intake. The low-carbohydrate group consumed the smallest amount of carbohydrates and the largest amounts of fat, protein and cholesterol. On average, the Mediterranean-diet and low-carbohydrate groups lost more weight than the low-fat group. Reductions in cholesterol were also more pronounced in the Mediterranean and low-carb groups. In the 36 study participants with diabetes, the Mediterranean diet seemed to improve fasting blood sugar levels.

The authors of the study stated that these results suggest that there are effective alternatives to low-fat diets which allow for individualized tailoring of diets for people with different medical concerns. Perhaps what this means is that there is no 'best' diet, but there may be a diet that works best for you.

Source

N Eng J Med. 2008;359:229-241.

Created on: 07/21/2008
Reviewed on: 06/05/2009

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