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Choosing the Right Diet This New Year

Choosing the Right Diet This New Year

December 16, 2015

Medical Research

Live Science — With all different kinds of diets out there, choosing the right one can be trickier than adhering to the diet itself.

Prof. Iris Shai

Prof. Iris Shai

To help people make more informed diet choices, Prof. Iris Shai, of BGU’s Department of Public Health in the Faculty of Health Sciences, conducted the Dietary Intervention Randomized Controlled Trial, or DIRECT study.

The trial included 322 people, ages 40 to 65, all of whom were overweight and worked at the same research center. The participants were randomly assigned to different diets — a low-fat diet, a Mediterranean diet or a low-carb diet — for a two-year period.

Coming in first place was the low-carb group, who lost an average of 12.1 lbs. after the two years. Next was the Mediterranean diet group, losing an average of 10.1 lbs. The low-fat group came in last, with participants losing an average of 7.3 lbs.

Additionally, the study showed that different diets were most effective for each gender. The women in the study on the Mediterranean diet lost more weight than the women on the low-fat diet, while the men on the low-carb diet lost more weight than the men on the low-fat diet.

The food pyramid of the Mediterranean diet

The food pyramid of the Mediterranean diet

The researchers’ findings indicated that Mediterranean and low-carb diets are vastly more effective in keeping weight off long term than the low-fat diet, even after the diet is modified or discontinued.

In a follow-up four years after the initial study was conducted, the researchers found that the average total weight loss over the total period was 6.8 lbs. for the Mediterranean dieters, 3.7 lbs. for the low-carb dieters, and only 1.3 lbs. for the low-fat dieters.

These findings suggest that the Mediterranean diet may not be the best for losing weight fast, but could make up for that in its ability to maintain weight loss long term.

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