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Category: Science

Weight Loss Recommendations Not in Line with Current Science

To this day, you still see products in grocery stores labeled, “low fat” as if this somehow translates into meaning the product is more healthful. Obviously the manufacturers of these products feel that there still is enough consensus in terms of the public’s perception that low fat is a good thing. So they persist in perpetuating this myth in order to sell product.

Nowhere is the idea that lower fat consumption more off base than when this idea is exploited in the context of weight loss. Virtually every weight loss product and program clings to the outdated notion of fat restriction being the key to weight loss as well as heart health, and nothing is further from the truth.

In the September 2nd issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine, Tulane University researchers published a report, titled Effects of Low-Carbohydrate and Low-Fat Diets, A Randomized Trial, in which they evaluated weight loss and various cardiovascular risk factors in a group of 148 men and women without cardiovascular disease.

During the course of the study, one group ate a low carb diet defined as limiting carbohydrates to 40 grams or less each day. The others ate the time-honored low fat diet in which daily fat consumption was limited to less than 30% of daily calories.

At the completion of the study, in comparing the two groups, those eating the low-carb diet with lots of dietary fat experienced dramatically more weight loss, more reduction of body fat, lower triglycerides, and remarkably higher HDL.

Here’s the conclusion of the study:

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

Keep in mind this is coming from the Annals of Internal Medicine, arguably one of the most well-respected, peer-reviewed, scientific, medical journals on the planet. With such powerful science, why does there remain so much misunderstanding about the nature of what should be considered healthful in terms of our food choices and specifically regarding what type of diet will favor weight loss?

My mission is simply to keep all of my readers up to date in terms of what unbiased science is revealing.

For more information, pre-order your copy of Brain Maker today and join Dr. Perlmutter’s email list.

  • Eve-Loraine

    It’s almost impossible to buy anything in the supermarket that isn’t low fat. Even products touting themselves as ‘original’ proudly proclaim, 60% less fat!

  • Richard

    We eat full-fat yogurt, butter, whole milk, coconut oil, olive oil, most nuts, red meat AND we have no problem in maintaining our optimum weight at the ages of 68 & 69!!! Of course, we eat no gluten containing foods. Low carb, high fat works for us!!! 🙂 K and R

    • Lynn Dell

      When I started on the grain brain diet, the focus was immediately on the macro-nutrients, and the supplements came soon afterward. Regarding the marcro-nutrients, I had NO problem lowering the carbs. I was TERRIFIED to eat lots of healthful fat such as olive oil, coconut oil, and butter though. But once I started to realize how much better I felt, I stopped worrying.

  • Terri Petrie

    I agree with the comments so far. To me one of the root causes of the misconception is the now outdated concept of the Eatwell Plate. In the UK this a actively promotes high carbs and low fat.
    http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/eatwell-plate.aspx
    When will they get up to date??

  • Johanna Plums

    To put it simple, when the amount of calories you consume exceeds the amount you spend, that “extra” amount transforms into fat. What do you need to lose fat? Simple – spend more than consume. Diets help you consuming less calories, sports activity help you spending more. In any case, it’s important to have a complete approach – diet plus workout program, like one of those listed on http://www.slimfitreviews.com

    • Lynn Dell

      I agree with you. The problem is the addictive nature of easily absorbed carbohydrates – the ones which spike blood sugar and insulin. And fructose, which the liver converts directly to fat, from what I’ve been told. The insulin and blood glucose issues, and the fructose issues, lead to metabolic problems — and addictions — that a lower carbohydrate diet, higher healthful fat diet avoid. Hence – it is much easier to be calorie restricted from time to time (a very good thing) on a low carb, high fat, modest protein diet. Caloric restriction, btw, either by fasting one day periodically, or intermittent fasting, is encouraged on the grain brain diet.

  • Cassandra

    There was a book published last June, the title is: The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz. It was such an eye opener to read! She spent nine years researching the book. I made a couple of small changes to my eating choices and have been reaping big rewards ever since after reading it. It is long overdue that this information comes to light. We also need to support the doctors who have the courage to go against the low fat diet as it has been professional suicide to do so for far too long. A big thanks to Dr Perlmutter for this post.

  • Lisa G

    So what do you think about the study completed in May indicating gluten senstivity doesn’t exist? I do think it exists because wheat makes me itch like crazy.
    And what do you think about the recent report on Medscape saying the DASH diet beats all others, and yet it includes whole grains and low fat dairy? It’s hard to believe…the science changes all the time and it’s so frustrating

    • Virginia

      Eat everything I’m as close to it’s natural form as possible…so whole fat milk, butter, eggs, meats, etc.
      I had an undiagnosed gluten allergy for 15 years!
      It cost me my life!
      I had diarrhea so severely that it consumed my life!
      When I ate, where I went, where’s a bathroom, etc.
      I gained 80 pounds the first year my gallbladder was removed.
      Seems this removal triggered or did something to enhance the allergy.
      Doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me!
      I started getting sores on my face and back..Doctors said acne(i knew it wasn’t) another one said it’s bacteria…both used antibiotics, it would go away and come right back..takes 3 months for them to heal!
      My mom stumbled onto gluten allergy causing sores…I experimented and the sores went away! If I eat gluten, they’re back!
      So, yes, it is REAL…Oooh, and my diarrhea is GONE!! Unless I eat gluten 🙂
      I did read recently that it’s not the gluten, but the round up that’s used on the wheat products? I just avoid all gluten so I don’t care if it’s the round up or gluten, I’m avoiding both!

      • Virginia

        And I’m now on high protein, high fat, low, low carbs(i keep well under 25a day)
        I’ve lost 8 pounds in two weeks and still no diarrhea(which according to my doctors was caused from eating fat..lol)
        Eat ALL the eggs you want!!!
        They are BRAIN FOOD! Great CHOLESTEROL 🙂
        I eat cheese, meats, dill pickles, olives, cucumbers, green onions, banana peppers
        Sausage 🙂 🙂 🙂 yum! And I can have mayo!

    • Eve-Loraine

      Wheat make me itch too. I don’t think the science changes, just peoples opinions. Some are based on faulty science.

    • David Perlmutter
  • Pingback: Weight Loss Recommendations Not in Line with Current Science | David Perlmutter M.D.- Fran Sussman Holistic Services()

  • plants with pesco

    I think truly low fat (10-20%) can work for many people; the key is to eat whole plants, not foods with processed flours, sugar and oils. Some people can do well with higher amounts of fat (especially increased nuts, seeds, avocado…) but your blood pressure and blood lipids should not increase from levels of your youth. If your high fat diet is increasing these biomarkers, you may want to give up low carb and swap butter and red meat for high fiber whole plants with abundant bioavailable protein and calcium such as tempeh (fermented soybeans), greens, cooked mushrooms, quinoa, bok choy, sesame seeds and, possibly occasional servings of fish high in omega-3’s calcium and vitamin D and lower in mercury like sardines and herring or daily flax and some walnuts for omega-3’s.

  • cami

    I have been eating this way for over a year. I have Cervical Dystonia. My pains have disappeared but the spasms still continued. I started taking 30 grams of inositol and 5 grams of choline. This had dramatically decreased my spasms. What do you think of these two supplements? I can not find any nutritional values anywhere online. I don’t know if these are high in carbs. All I could find is that they have a low glycemic index but I am taking a very high dose. Please help explain this to me. Thanks

  • Doreine

    Just finished reading grain brain and want to remove grain fro my diet for brain health. I already eat pretty low carb but with occasional grains. I don’t need to lose weight. Will removing the grain cause weight loss if not needed?

    • David Perlmutter

      That varies person to person Doreine, and what I tend to say is that it helps your body reach its natural weight.

  • GolfBails

    I just finished watching this TED Talk with cancer researcher William Li on angiogenesis and it’s role in disease. Although he speaks primarily about cancer, he connects dietary choices to preventing cancer and obesity. I was struck by the similarities between his findings and Dr. Permutter’s.
    http://youtu.be/OjkzfeJz66o

  • Pingback: 7 Reasons Why Low Carb Diets Are Better Than Low Fat or Low Calorie()

  • Plants with pesco

    U Penn has had some interesting studies-most recent in Feb. 2015 on HDL cholesterol. It appears that the blood levels of HDL do not correlate how well they help reduce LDL, and higher HDL levels in an inflammatory state may be unwanted.

    It looks like LDL and CRP levels along with more definitive tests, such as carotid ultrasound, pulse volume in ankles and blood pressure may be better indicators of vascular health than HDL score.

    Antiinflammatory and high antioxidant foods: greens, berries, mushrooms. flax and low food-chain fish are all fabulous!

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3419820/

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3419820/

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