The Dietary Science Foundation
Telephone:+46 70-750 22 16
269 39 Båstad
According to a large study published in the medical journal JAMA yesterday, those who want to lose weight do not need to count calories. Participants were instead encouraged to severely limit the amount of processed foods and cook from nutrient dense ingredients. The consumed amounts of carbohydrates or fat, or their genetic profile, were not decisive factors for weight loss.
The study, conducted at Stanford University in California, included more than 600 adults. One group reduced the amount of fat they consumed, while the second group reduced the amount of carbohydrates. Both groups were advised to minimize trans fats, added sugar, wheat flour and other refined carbohydrates. Instead, they were informed to eat vegetables and nutritious foods.
Although no calorie restrictions were given, participants in both groups lost on average 5-6 kg during the 12-month long study.
Participants in the low-carbohydrate group were encouraged to eat fatty foods, such as olive oil, salmon, avocado, cheese, nuts and seeds, yet they reduced their intake of calories. The results show that authorities’ recommendations to limit the amount of fat in food to keep weight have been counterproductive. During the same period that low-fat products have been advocated, consumption of for example white bread, pasta, soda and candy have greatly increased. According to this study, this is likely one of the contributing factors of the obesity epidemic.
Last week, we informed you that DSF will financially support an evaluation of various dietary treatments in obesity. The study is run by Simon Dankel, researcher at the Department of Clinical Research, University of Bergen and Haukeland University Hospital. The way the study is designed, the team will investigate how the amount of saturated fat, as well as the amount of refined carbohydrates, especially white flour, affects weight loss in obesity. He will also follow up on other important health markers, such as the amount of fat in the liver.
We are looking forward to the results of this study. The public nutrition recommendations need to be effective. Today, over half of all adults are overweight or obese, causing personal suffering and huge costs in health care.