Cut Carbs, Not Fat If You Want to Lose Weight, says Harvard Study

Turns out, eating foods with healthy fats, ranging from avocados to nuts, doesn’t make us fat.

However, eating too many carbs, such as pasta, bagels and bread, can influence weight gain.

A Harvard study of more than 60,000 dieters found that those who cut back on carbohydrates such as bread, pasta and potatoes lost more weight than those who cut back on butter and cheese.

This new research indicates cutting carbs from your diet is a more effective weight loss strategy rather than eliminating fatty foods.

Low fat vs. low carb

For decades, there has been much debate over the value of a low-fat diet.

Both of these diets have been widely used to try and lose weight. In the 1970’s this low-fat fad began being recognized as the best strategy for weight loss.

However, now major research, published in the Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, supports a low-carb approach as a more successful diet.

The study

The study by Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health looked at all previous studies from clinical trials that compared the effect of low-fat diets versus other approaches, at least one year later.

The analysis included 53 studies involving 67,000 dieters. On average participants across all groups were six pounds lighter one year later.

These dieters who cut back on fat were two-and-a-half pounds heavier after a year than those who took on a low carb diet.

Low-fat diets were still better than “usual diet” when participants did not change their eating habits at all, scientists said.

“Despite the pervasive dogma that one needs to cut fat from their diet in order to lose weight, the existing scientific evidence does not support low-fat diets over other dietary interventions for long-term weight loss,” said Dr. Deirdre Tobias at Bingham’s Division of Preventive Medicine.

The study found low carbohydrate diets were the most effective.

The doctors said any diet which decreased portion size and focused on a healthy balanced of fresh and unprocessed foods could promote a successful route to weight loss.

“We need to look beyond the rations of calories from fat, carbs, and protein to a discussion of healthy eating patterns, whole foods, and portion sizes. Finding new ways to improve diet adherence for the long-term and preventing weight gain in the first place are important strategies for maintaining a healthy weight,” Tobias said.

The takeaway

If you are looking to lose weight, cutting out carbs is the most successful strategy. Continue to use healthy fats in your diet such as grass-fed butter, extra virgin olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds. These fats can actually help you lose weight!

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