What weight loss diet is “the best”: low carb or low fat?

It turns out….either….provided you stick to it.  Research conducted by Dr. Geoff Ball from the University of Alberta and other researchers from across Canada led to this conclusion.  The researchers did a study called a “systematic review and meta-analysis”, which, like it sounds, identifies all the research on the topic that meets a predetermined criteria, then uses special statistical methods to combine and compare results of all the studies.  In this case, the 48 studies included several “fad” diets from recent decades, like South Beach, Atkins and Ornish, as well as “branded” diets like Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig.  After 1 year, the results were amazingly similar between diets, around 7.5 kg average weight loss.  The researchers concluded that the biggest factor in success was an individual’s ability to stick to the diet.


This is in some ways consistent with our PPEP philosophy: pick something you can stick with.  It’s important to remember that you don’t need to adopt low-fat or low-carb in order to lose weight.   Although PPEP is not specifically designed for weight loss, it advocates a balanced diet with familiar foods prepared in healthful ways, for example minimizing highly processed foods and ingredients, and being mindful of portion size.  Another aspect of PPEP is that it uses foods that are readily available in most regular grocery stores, doesn’t rely on specialty items, and tries to highlight locally available foods that may even be less expensive than imported foods.  These characteristics should help people stick to a healthy eating pattern for years.


The full reference for this publication is:

Johnston BC, Kanters S, Bandayrel K, Wu P, Naji F, Siemieniuk RA, Ball GD, Busse JW, Thorlund K, Guyatt G, Jansen JP, Mills EJ.  Comparison of weight loss among named diet programs in overweight and obese adults: a meta-analysis.  Journal of the American Medical Association. 2014 Sep 3;312(9):923-33. doi: 10.1001/jama.2014.10397.