A new low-carb vs. low-fat diet has come out, and the Dr. Atkins camp is claiming victory, although the low-fat camp of Dr. Dean Ornish is crying foul. But I'll show you the truth about the results below...it isn't what you expect!
According to the NY Times "In a tightly controlled dieting experiment, obese people lost an average of just 6 to 10 pounds over two years...the results highlight the difficulty of weight loss and the fact that most diets do not work well."
The scientists studied 322 moderately obese men and women following one of three diets, either a low fat diet (less than 30% of calories from fat - which really isn't "low fat" as Dr. Ornish correctly points out); a Mediterranean diet; or the Atkins low-carb diet. (In the interest of full disclosure, the study was partly financed by the Atkins Research Foundation.)
The researchers did not claim one diet to be better than another, although the low-carb and mediterranean diet groups lost more weight (10 pounds) compared to the low-fat group (6 pounds).
In fact, men and women responded very differently to the diets. Women lost the most weight with the mediterranean diet (14 pounds) and the least with
the low carb diet (5 pounds), while the men lost the most with the low carb diet (11 pounds).
The results all clearly all over the board. The researchers concluded the results were modest, but still improved the subject's health. However, all this information misses the main result of this study.
And despite what the NY Times wants you to believe, it's not, "diets don't work". It's that, "Dieters" don't work. After all, if I worked with 322 moderately obese people for TWO YEARS, I'd be ashamed if they only lost 6-10 pounds.
The dirty truth about diets - the politically incorrect truth that no one wants to admit because it takes away all excuses for a lack of personal
responsibility - is that DIETS DO WORK.
On the other hand, I'd bet that almost every subject in that study lied about how compliant they were with the diet they were assigned. But that's HUMAN NATURE. We all think we eat better than we do.
And that's how you end up with 322 people dieting for two years, and all they can achieve is an average of 8 pounds of weight loss. It's not the diets that aren't working! It's the dieters that are the problem!
So if you are having trouble sticking to your nutrition, or if you are confused about low-carb vs. low-fat, just take a deep breath and follow my 5 simple rules...
1) Find out how much you are eating now. Use Fitday.
2) If you are not losing weight, eat less.
3) Eat fruits, vegetables, nuts, and good protein sources. Don't eat junk from a bag or a box.
4) Give yourself one treat meal per week to look forward to - not a treat day, just a treat meal.
5) Plan ahead. Prepare your meals (spend 1-2 hours on the weekend getting your meals and meal plan ready for the week). Identify obstacles and come up with solutions to avoid them.
That is it. Very simple. Most people do pretty well on 1-3 and even 5, but mess up on number 4. I often hear how well someone did all day long, but then while making dinner they snack on upwards of 500 calories of their kid's treats, or other processed carbohydrates they have lying around the house.
The little things can add up to big time problems. So take a good long look at everything you eat. And all of this can be avoided if you follow rule #5. Combine my five simple nutrition rules with three short workouts per week of resistance training and interval training, and you have a very manageable fat loss plan that can fit any busy lifestyle. You don't have to be a doctor to figure out how to eat for fat loss.