A recent study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine compared two diet programs for weight loss. The first group ate a low calorie, low fat diet combined with the weight loss drug Alli. The other group was put on a low carbohydrate diet that restricted their carbohydrate intake to no more than 20 grams per day.
The results showed that both groups lost weight. The group on the low fat, low calorie diet combined with Alli lost about 8.5% of their body weight. People in the low carbohydrate group lost about 9.5% of their body weight. Statistically, this was determined to be roughly equal.
The low carbohydrate group, however, had an extra benefit. They were able to significantly lower their blood pressure. There was no change in blood pressure for the group on the low fat diet and Alli. Plus, patients using Alli in the study were more likely to report gas, bowel incontinence, and diarrhea than those in the low-carb group.
While the drug makers of Alli will point out that both groups were able to effectively lose weight, I say why take a drug that has potential side effects when there are other ways to lose weight. Plus, the low carbohydrate group was able to lower their blood pressure, something that the group taking Alli cannot say.
The evidence continues to mount that low carbohydrate diets are not only safe but much more effective for losing weight and improving other parameters of health. Low fat diets, while effective for losing weight in the short term, are notorious for people rebounding and gaining their weight back. Low carbohydrate diets have been shown to be easier to stick to and without the rebound phenomenon.