If you're looking for a heart-healthy diet to try, it appears low-carb may be better than low-fat. A new study finds a low-carbohydrate diet is more effective for weight loss and reducing cardiovascular disease risk than a low-fat diet.
"The group that followed the low carbohydrate diet actually lost more weight and reduced their cardiovascular risk factors slightly," said Cleveland Clinic Registered Dietitian Julia Zumpano.
Zumpano says researchers at Tulane University randomly assigned 148 men and women to follow a low-carbohydrate diet or a low-fat diet. None of the participants had heart disease or diabetes when the study began.
After a year, results show people on the low-carbohydrate diet had greater decreases in weight, fat mass, and other cardiovascular disease risk factors than those on the low-fat diet. In fact, those in the low-carbohydrate group lost an average of almost 8 pounds more than those in the low-fat group and blood levels of certain fats, that are predictors of risk for heart disease, also decreased more in the low-carbohydrate group.
Researchers say until now, low-carb diets have been a popular strategy for weight loss, but their cardiovascular effects have been unknown. Zumpano says a low-carb diet may also provide you with the low-fat diet you may be looking for.
"Carbohydrates carry fat such as potato chips, or cake, or cookies, or French fries, or even pasta with Alfredo sauce. So, a lot of times by cutting out carbs or cutting down carbs you're also cutting down a significant amount of fat calories," she explained.
Read more about this low-carb diet versus low-fat diet study in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.