Low Carb diet wins in clinical trial

January 6, 2009

A recent confirmation of the validity of carbohydrate-restricted diets can be found in a recently published study released by the New England Journal of Medicine. The study took 2-years, using 322 randomly assigned, moderately obese subjects to one of three diets: low-fat, restricted-calorie; Mediterranean, restricted-calorie; or low-carbohydrate, non–restricted-calorie [my emphasis].

The net is that the low-carb diet resulted in the greatest weight loss, largest improvement in lipid profile (higher HDL, lower triglycerides, improved HDL/triglycerides ratio) and reduction in inflammatory markers (high-sensitivity C-Reactive Protein).

Among many important takeaways from this study, the one I like to highlight is that only one of these diets (the low-carb diet) was not calorie restricted. Seems to me that the very idea that a non-calorie-restricted diet can result in more weight loss in a controlled, randomized trial against two calorie-restricted diets it a little like winning with one hand tied behind your back. While the diet itself did not restrict calories, the subjects wound up consuming fewer calories without really trying. Seems like a strong argument for including sensible fats and proteins in a diet so you’re not feeling hungry all the time. Seems like common sense, doesn’t it?

Would that the designated dietary professionals might take a look at these findings and respond appropriately.

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4 Responses to “Low Carb diet wins in clinical trial”


  1. […] about a half-century of unquestioned support of the the low-fat, calorie restricted diet, there is mounting evidence that, in the main, Atkins was right and that, with a few modifications, a non-calorie restricted […]

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  2. Tremonte Says:

    I was surprised to see that they did *NOT* find a difference between low-carb and the other diets in their effect on fasting plasma glucose and insulin levels. Thompson’s book leads me to expect that a low-carb diet (which would also be low-GL) should have a positive impact on insulin sensitivity. What am I missing?

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  3. KMT Says:

    Good point – and good question.

    My speculation is that caloric restriction (in both the low-fat and mediterranean diets) have a similar affect on glucose levels and insulin sensitivity.

    Speculation is the operative term, here.

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  4. Adonica Says:

    You’ve hit the ball out the park! Irncedblie!

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