If you’re one of millions of Americans trying to lose weight, you probably wish you had a more effective diet than the one you’re on now.
And if you’re wondering whether Dean Ornish’s low-fat diet will help you shed pounds better than Dr. Atkins’ low-carb menu, the answer is simple: it doesn’t matter.
Scientists know that on a molecular level, different types of starch and different types of fat have varying effects when they hit the body.
But in terms of weight loss, low-fat diets and low-carb diets overall are equally effective (and, most of the time, neither will help you keep the weight off long-term), says Walter Willett, chair of the department of nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health.
Will eating a calorie of fat make you fatter than eating a calorie of carbohydrate?
From many kinds of studies conducted over years, we are quite confident now that a calorie from fat will cause a similar amount of weight gain as a calorie from carbohydrate.
There are some interesting questions about whether eating carbohydrate calories versus fat calories will make you eat more calories, but based on what you put into your mouth, it’s pretty clear that the source of the calories is really not important.
[Whether fats or carbohydrates are more filling] is one issue that’s been raised — but it’s been raised on both sides. The best way to get to the bottom line is to look at long-term studies where we randomize people to a high-fat/low-carb diet or to a low-fat/high-carb diet and follow them for at least a year or more.
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