War on Carbs

Axel HeaderLow-carbohydrate diets are increasingly popular, but concerns have arisen that such diets, compared with traditional low-fat diets might have adverse cardiovascular consequences.

To evaluate the effects of both diets on weight and cardiovascular risk factors, researchers randomized 150 adults with a mean age of 47 and a mean body-mass index (weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters) of 35 kg/m2. One group was put on a diet that limited carbohydrates to <40gr. daily and the other on a diet in which <30% of daily energy intake came from fats.

Participants met regularly with dieticians and were followed for a year. No caloric intake goals were given and participants were asked not to change their physical activity levels.

During the trial, total energy intake was slightly lower in the low-carb group than in the low-fat group : 1320 vs. 1480 kcal. daily. At 12 months mean weight reduction was significantly greater in the low-carb group: 3,5 kg difference. There was as well a decrease in triglycerides and an increase in HDL-cholesterol. Glucose levels and blood pressures did not change significantly between groups. 80% of participants completed the 12 months trial (Ann Intern Med 2014 Sep 2; 161:309).

This is a somewhat small study and the follow-up period is relatively short. But it clearly favours a low-carb diet for weight loss and cardiovascular risk reduction.
Somebody else has said before: “we have won the war on fats, but lost the war on carbs”.

American health authorities plan to force the food industry to highlight the percentage of the 3 main ingredients of every product. I am sure that the average supermarket-shopper will be surprised how often sugar appears on this list.

So: if you consider dieting do consider the German Bratwurst-diet. But be careful with the beer which comes with it : carb-danger!


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