Researchers from Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana reported on January 18, 2012 in the ‘American Journal of Clinical Nutrition’ that there were no differences in weight loss or the reduction of fat between 4 diets with different proportions of fat, carbohydrates and protein. It is adherence that matters. Those participants who adhered better lost more weight than those who did not.
As shown in earlier research, certain diets like those with very low carbohydrates work better than others though there has been no consensus among researchers.
Participants were assigned to 1 of the 4 diets: Average protein, low fat and higher carbohydrates; High protein, low fat and higher carbohydrates; Average protein, high fat and lower carbohydrates; High protein, high fat and lower carbohydrates. All the diets were designed to reduce 750 calories a day.
Their weight, fat mass and lean mass were checked after 6 months and again at 2 years after starting the diets. At 6 months, participants lose more than 4.1 kilos of fat and approximately 2.3 kilos of lean mass, though they regained some of these at the 2-year mark. Nevertheless, people who managed to adhere to their diet were able to keep a weight loss of more than 3.6 kilos after 2 years including a nearly 1.4 kilos loss of abdominal fat, a drop of more than 7 percent.
During the 2-year period, many of the participants dropped out and those who completed it did not have the diets exactly the same as what had been assigned.
For instance, all the 4 diet groups ended up getting about 20 percent of their calories from protein after 2 years. This was quite different from what the researchers had hoped for: 2 diet groups get 25 percent of their calories from protein and the other 2 groups get 15 percent of their calories from protein.
The findings suggested that all diet plans can work and it is adherence that can help the weight loss success. People should choose the diet that is comfortable for them.