Certain diets may be useless, depending on your DNA

Certain diets may be useless, depending on your DNA

Certain diets may be useless, depending on your DNA

― AFP picNEW YORK, Feb 21 ― Common dieting advice urges people to either eat fewer carbohydrates or less fat in order to shed weight. "People who ate plenty of vegetables and whole foods lost significant amounts of weight over the course of the year without restricting the quantity of food that they consumed, according to a new study published in JAMA on Tuesday".

The researchers also found no associations between the genotype pattern or baseline insulin levels and a propensity to succeed on either diet. It all depends on the person - although they haven't yet been able to determine the all important characteristics that determine which camp you fall into.

Pick the one you are most likely to stick with, says Christopher Gardner, PhD, professor of medicine at the Stanford Prevention Research Center at the Stanford University School of Medicine in California who compared both diet regimens for the best weight loss.The researchers concluded that you can expect to lose the same amount of weight, on average, on either one. ‘It's because we're all very different and we're just starting to understand the reasons'.

"What we do know is that some diets work better for some individuals than others, yet the factors that drive these inconsistencies remain unclear".

The people in the study were all between 18 and 50 years old, and were all overweight or obese but otherwise healthy. About half were men and half were women. Participants were split randomly into two groups, one of which was told to decrease their carbohydrate intake and the other to cut back on fat consumption. They divided them into three categories - those with gene variants sensitive to dietary fats, those sensitive to carbs, and those who have no such sensitivities - and gave each one the appropriate diet.

The individuals began by limiting their daily carbohydrate or fat intake to 20 grams for the first eight weeks.

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"The unique thing is that we didn't ever set a number for them to follow", Gardner said. Go for whole foods, whether that is a wheatberry salad or grass-fed beef. She tells us: "Diet trends are constantly changing, and it's mainly down to the food preferences chefs and celebs who choose to write and promote recipe and weight loss books".

You're determined to lose weight this time and find yourself debating whether to go low-fat or low-carb? However, in this study, Dr. Gardner said, "there was no indication that a low carb diet was any better for those with insulin resistance than a low-fat diet". Also, some people lost as much as 60 pounds and others gained 15 pounds - more evidence that genetic characteristics and diet type appeared to make no difference.

Perhaps the biggest takeaway from this study, Gardner said, is that the fundamental strategy for losing weight with either a low-fat or a low-carb approach is similar.

"Carbohydrates have been deemed "fattening" and "unhealthy" when in actual fact, the science behind carbohydrates is quite complex, and demonising an entire food group is not wise", warns Rhiannon Lambert, leading Harley Street nutritionist and author of Re-Nourish: A Simple Way To Eat Well. Both groups reduced their daily calorie intake by an average of about 500 calories.

No significant differences were observed between the two groups for mean 12-month weight changes (low-fat diet group, -5.3 kg vs. low-carbohydrate diet group, -6 kg).

"I'm hoping that we can come up with signatures of sorts", he added. "I feel like we owe it to Americans to be smarter than to just say 'eat less.' I still think there is an opportunity to discover some personalization to it - now we just need to work on tying the pieces together".

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