Cutting fat from the diet does not help with weight loss.
In fact, both high- and low-fat diets are equally effective, a review of the research finds.
People do not lose any more weight when they cut out fats from their diet.
The only important factor is whether or not they are able to persist with the diet.
However, there is some evidence that reducing carbohydrates from the diet helps to increase weight loss.
Dr Deirdre Tobias, the study’s first author, said:
“Despite the pervasive dogma that one needs to cut fat from their diet in order to lose weight, the existing scientific evidence does not support low-fat diets over other dietary interventions for long-term weight loss.
In fact, we did not find evidence that is particularly supportive of any specific proportion of calories from fat for meaningful long-term weight loss.
We need to look beyond the ratios of calories from fat, carbs, and protein to a discussion of healthy eating patterns, whole foods, and portion sizes.
Finding new ways to improve diet adherence for the long-term and preventing weight gain in the first place are important strategies for maintaining a healthy weight.”
The researchers reviewed 53 studies including 68,128 people overall.
The studies compared the effects of low- and high-fat diets.
The results showed that average weight loss was the same for both types of diets: about six pounds in a year.
Professor Frank Hu, study co-author, said:
“Current evidence indicates that clinically meaningful weight loss can be achieved with a variety of dietary approaches.
The key is to improve long-term compliance and cardiometabolic health.
Therefore, weight loss diets should be tailored to cultural and food preferences and health conditions of the individual and should also consider long-term health consequences of the diets.”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the journal The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology (Tobias et al., 2019).