Philadelphia, PA - Low-carbohydrate and low-fat diets coupled with comprehensive behavioral coaching in a randomized trial were similarly effective for weight reduction, while HDL-cholesterol levels ended up higher with the low-carb approach, researchers report in the August 3, 2010 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine .
Lead author Dr Gary D Foster (Temple University, Philadelphia, PA) told heartwire that for him, the weight-control message "is that patients should probably be less concerned about whether the diet is high in this or low in that and more concerned with using behavioral strategies, like keeping track of what they eat, to help them adhere to healthy eating habits."
In the multicenter study that randomized 307 persons to follow one or the other diet, both groups achieved about 11% weight loss at six months and a total of 7% at 24 months; both changes were significant. Both diets were also associated with increased HDL-cholesterol, but the increase was significantly higher for those on the low-carb diet.
Because weight loss itself affects HDL concentrations but was the same in both groups, Foster and his colleagues write, "we were able to determine that a low-carbohydrate diet has greater beneficial long-term effects on HDL-cholesterol concentrations than a low-fat diet."