Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Did You See the One About Low-Carb Diets Being No Better than Others?

There is a study that has been making the rounds the past few days. It touts itself as a meta-analysis designed to answer the question of whether or not low-carb diets are better for weight loss, and also whether low-carb diets are safe.

I'll cut to the chase. The study concludes low-carb diets are no better for weight loss and yes they're safe.....but, the authors bizarrely used a carb cutoff of 45% to define "low".

A diet with 45% of calories coming from carbs is not a low-carb diet and certainly isn't usefully comparable to one containing 20% carbs (and yet the authors did).

So sadly this paper doesn't help with the questions it set out to answer, but for what it's worth, my non-objectively quantifiable take on low-carb diets is that if they help you to control your intake, and you enjoy living that way, I wouldn't waste a moment worrying about safety. Of course if you don't enjoy low-carb life, please don't think there's no other way to go.

Reading this piece I could help but wonder, where, oh where, is peer review?

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  1. It looks like there are two opposing organisations spewing out pro & anti-carb propaganda, to muddy the scientific waters.

    The study you quoted, blatantly tweaked the methodology to make low-carb diets look useless.

    Siri-Tarino et al tweaked the selection criteria to make sat fats look harmless.

    Reira-Crichton et al tweaked the statistics to make carbs look fattening & fats look slimming.

    VLC'ers are currently vilifying Ancel Keys, saying that he cherry-picked countries for his 6/7-Country study, but John Yudkin's 15-Country study data (published in 1957) corroborates Keys' data!

    Keys criticised Yudkin in 1961, saying that Yudkin cherry-picked countries for his 15-Country study. Oh, the irony!

  2. http://www.thefatemperor.com/blog/2014/7/11/67ulnylok1osij7wzpoqa2fwzc68l6
    ....for a brief engineering critique of this study...and no, it's not good news for the team.

  3. Small wonder we are all confused...
    We had yet another useless news story on our evening new yesterday here in Vancouver that obesity disease may just not be as bad for your health as we thought! "studies' have found that some body fat in obese patients was protective in heart disease!
    Of course, as always, at the end of these rather general and often confusing and damaging news stories, they say more research is needed... I truly wish the networks would promote concrete, relevant and currently proven information on nutrition and our bodies! Bombarding the average viewer with endless 'studies' just creates a feeling of overwhelming frustration...

    1. The evenings news, newspapers, and the most of the mainstream media are designed to get you to watch their shows and read their stories. Basically they're giving the viewers what the viewers want to watch.

      If the evening news just promoted simple, consistent, and scientifically sound health related news it would be boring and they'd be out of business in a week.

  4. All I know is that my spouse has, in the past, had a pre-diabetic condition, and a low-carb diet helped not only in blood sugar levels but in weight loss. It's the only kind of diet that's ever worked for him. Isn't it possible that different people require different kinds of eating/nutrition?

  5. What I find interesting, is that even science does not have the answer, and yet individuals keep getting held responsible. With the growing issue at hand , people need to realize it is not a simple matter with a simple solution. ie:calories in and calories out. or my favorite, just get out and walk , lol. just not that simple

  6. There has been reviews of studies where the low-carb diets had less than 60 grams of carbohydrates. In these, low-carb gave a mean difference of -3,3 kg at 6 months, but no signifikant difference at 12 months (mean -1 kg (95 % CI: -3,5-1,5 kg). In these studies, the low-carbers had better adherence at 6 months. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16476868

  7. no one has ever been able to prove you can eat more then your calorie maintenance and NOT gain weight...