“Tell me doctor, which diet works for everyone?” And the doctor answers: the diet that works for the person eating it. Despite the myriad opinions on the internet, we are still in the midst of learning which diet types work for different people. Today we offer another insight into what researchers have found in comparing low fat and high fat diets.
Researchers at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kindey diseases compared a low-fat, plant-based diet to a low-carbohydrate, animal-based diet in terms of calories eating, hormone levels and changes in body weight. They looked at 20 adults housed in a controlled inpatient unit for 4 weeks with three prepared meals a day plus snacks. They were offered food to eat as they requested.
The low fat group ate around five to seven hundred less calories per day than then low-carb group. Either way the groups did not differ in reports of hunger, mealtime emjoyment, or satiety. Both groups lost some weight but the low fat diet ended up with a greater loss of body fat. Despite glucose swings and insulin fluctuations in the low-fat group, they seemed to fare pretty well.
Since the study subjects did not have diabetes, we can only apply these findings to non-diabetics. We must also consider that the participants were not actively pursuing weight loss which might change some dynamics and results if conditions were changed.
More interesting was prior research by the same lab which showed that a high processed food diet plan did lead to weight gain and overeating when matched against the same calories of minimally processed food. This again points to the effects of food processing on our metabolism.
Once again, we come back to application. Does this mean you should eat anything you want and it will just work out? Not really. As I listened to another podcast while running this morning, no single diet plan works for everyone. Nutrition plans must be personalized according to a persons’ metabolic profile and in response to their preferences. The perfect plan that is never implemented gets no one directly to nowhere.
To live a healthier more abundant life, work with a functional team including a clinician and a nutritionist to find your best nutrition approach that not only optimizes your health but gives you mealtime joy.
Kevin D. Hall, Juen Guo, Amber B. Courville, James Boring, Robert Brychta, Kong Y. Chen, Valerie Darcey, Ciaran G. Forde, Ahmed M. Gharib, Isabelle Gallagher, Rebecca Howard, Paule V. Joseph, Lauren Milley, Ronald Ouwerkerk, Klaudia Raisinger, Irene Rozga, Alex Schick, Michael Stagliano, Stephan Torres, Mary Walter, Peter Walter, Shanna Yang, Stephanie T. Chung. Effect of a plant-based, low-fat diet versus an animal-based, ketogenic diet on ad libitum energy intake. Nature Medicine, 2021; DOI: 10.1038/s41591-020-01209-1
Thanks to Science Daily:
NIH/National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. “Study compares low-fat, plant-based diet to low-carb, animal-based diet.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 January 2021. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/01/210121131851.htm>.
Sanctuary Functional Medicine, under the direction of Dr Eric Potter, IFMCP MD, provides functional medicine services to Nashville, Middle Tennessee and beyond. We frequently treat patients from Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Ohio, Indiana, and more... offering the hope of healthier more abundant lives to those with chronic illness.