Carbs More Effective than Low-Fat Diet for Insulin-Resistant Women
women with insulin resistance lose more weight after three months on a lower-carbohydrate
diet than on a traditional low-fat diet with the same number of calories, according
to a study presented June 19, 2010 at The Endocrine Society's 92nd Annual
Meeting in San Diego.
typical diet that physicians recommend for weight loss is a low-fat diet,"
said the study's lead author, Raymond Plodkowski, MD, chief of endocrinology,
nutrition and metabolism at the University of Nevada School of Medicine, Reno.
"However, as this study shows, not all people have the same response to diets."
with insulin resistance, a common precursor for Type 2 diabetes, metabolize carbohydrates,
or "carbs," abnormally, which may affect their rate of weight loss.
For them, Plodkowski said, "the lower-carb diet is more effective, at least
in the short term."
12-weeks, the study funded by Jenny Craig and using prepared calorie-controlled
meals as part of a behavioral weight loss program, found that the insulin resistant
women on a lower-carb diet lost 3.4 pounds more than those on a low-fat diet.
obese women between the ages of 18 and 65 years participated in the study, and
all had insulin resistance, as found by fasting blood levels of insulin. The researchers
randomly assigned the women to either a low-fat or lower-carb diet. The groups
did not differ significantly in average body weight, the authors reported. On
average, women in the low-fat diet group weighed 213 pounds, while women in the
other group weighed 223 pounds.
composition of the low-fat diet was 60 percent of calories from carbs, 20 percent
from fat and 20 percent from protein. Although the lower-carb diet also had 20
percent of calories from protein, it had 45 percent from carbs and 35 percent
from primarily unsaturated fats, such as nuts. Menus included a minimum of 2 fruits
and 3 vegetable servings a day.
of prepared meals helped make the structured diets easier and more palatable for
the dieters, according to Plodkowski. "We wanted to make this study real-worldanyone
could follow this plan by making moderate changes as part of a healthy menu,"
groups lost weight at each monthly weigh-in, but by 12 weeks, the insulin resistant
group receiving the lower-carb diet lost significantly more weight, 19.6 pounds
versus 16.2 pounds in the low-fat diet group approximately 21 percent more
data have potential widespread applications for clinicians when counseling people
with insulin resistance to help improve weight loss as part of a calorie-restricted
diet," Plodkowski said. "They should at least initially lower their
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