Through out many of these “fad” diets you come across, more often that not, you’re probably advised to omit or severely limit a certain macronutrient. Be it the whole “no carb” nonsense or “fat-free” approach, it just never seems to end. Its incredibly confusing and to be honest, its very upsetting; the amount of QUALITY information out there is very hard to find for most people.
However, the information IS available and if I can be of any service to you, I did find a study that actually researched comparative weight-loss diets of varying compositions of fat, protein, and carbohydrates. Allow me to give you a brief overview:
Name of Study
Comparison of Weight-Loss Diets with Different Compositions of Fat, Protein, and Carbohydrates (Sacks et al., 2009)
They randomly assigned 811 overweight adults to one of four diets where the following percentages represent calories from fat, protein and carbohydrates: 20, 15, and 65%; 20, 25, and 55%; 40, 15, and 45%; and 40, 25, and 35%.
Each of the diets consisted of similar foods and met the appropriate guidelines for cardiovascular health. Additionally, the participants were offered group and individual instructional sessions for 2 years.
The focus of this study was on change in body weight after 2 years by comparing low vs. high fat, average vs. high protein, and highest vs. lowest carbohydrate content.
One of the main reasons for them performing this study for such a long time was to answer a crucial question, “…whether overweight people have a better response in the long term to diets that emphasize a specific macronutrient composition” (Sacks et al., 2009). Their findings actually suggest so.
The principle finding was that all four diets were EQUALLY successful in promoting meaningful weight loss and the maintenance thereof, over the 2 year period. It actually didn’t make a difference which diet was prescribed! As stated in their conclusion:
…diets that are successful in causing weight loss can emphasize a range of fat, protein, and carbohydrate compositions that have beneficial effects on risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Such diets can also be tailored to individual patients on the basis of their personal and cultural preferences and may therefore have the best chance for long-term success (Sacks et al., 2009).
So what does this all mean?
In the end, its not really about the percent composition of your diet but rather, TOTAL CALORIC INTAKE and the INDIVIDUAL’S preferences. Just remember to keep in mind the QUALITY of food of course . Please feel free to comment or ask questions!