Purpose of review: Low-fat high-carbohydrate diets for weight loss have been challenged by alternative dietary approaches such as low-carbohydrate, high-protein or low glycaemic index. This review summarizes recent evidence on short-term metabolic effects and long-term adherence. Recent findings: Very low carbohydrate freely fed diets containing less than 60 g carbohydrate per day appear more effective at inducing weight loss over 6 months than low-fat kilojoule-controlled diets although long-term compliance to both are equally poor. The LDL-cholesterol level did not increase in most studies and triglyceride levels fell dramatically in all studies, although none of the studies measured lipids in energy balance. Direct comparisons of the long-term efficacy and safety of low-fat and low-carbohydrate ad libitum diets are needed. High-protein diets with moderate levels of both fat and carbohydrate and diets low in glycaemic load are emerging dietary strategies, with medium-term benefits having been demonstrated in individuals with insulin resistance. Diets low in glycaemic index require larger studies to establish their efficacy for weight loss and cardiovascular disease risk reduction. Summary: A variety of dietary approaches to achieve weight loss are consistent with metabolic improvements in cardiovascular risk in the short term. Long-term efficacy may depend on the intensity of education and frequency of follow-up more than the dietary composition per se.
- Glycaemic index
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Molecular Biology
- Nutrition and Dietetics
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Cell Biology