Low-Carb Diet May Beat Low-Fat Diet for Weight Loss, Cardiovascular Health

(HealthDay News) — A low-carbohydrate diet is more effective than a low-fat diet for weight loss and cardiovascular risk factor reduction, according to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Lydia A. Bazzano, MD, PhD, MPH, from the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans, and colleagues randomly assigned 148 men and women without clinical cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes to a low-carbohydrate (<40 grams per day) or low-fat diet (<30% fat; <7% saturated fat). 

The researchers sought to examine the effects of these two diets on body weight and CV risk factors.

Based on the 60 participants in the low-fat group and 59 in the low-carbohydrate group who completed the study, at 12 months, participants on the low-carbohydrate diet had greater decreases in weight (mean difference in change, –3.5 kg; P<.001) and fat mass (mean difference in change, −1.5%; P=.011) vs. those on the low-fat diet.

Those in the low-carbohydrate group also experienced greater decreases in ratio of total to HDL cholesterol (mean difference in change, −0.44; P=.002) and triglyceride level (mean difference in change, −0.16 mmol/L; P=.038), compared with those on the low-fat diet. 

Greater increases were noted in HDL cholesterol level (mean difference in change, 0.18 mmol/L; P=.001) in the low-carbohydrate diet participants vs. the low-fat diet participants.

“The low-carbohydrate diet was more effective for weight loss and cardiovascular risk factor reduction than the low-fat diet,” the researchers wrote.


  1. Bazzano LA et al. Ann Intern Med. 2014;161(5):309-318.