long-term weight loss

A study has evaluated all available clinical trials assessing different diets for weight-loss. Contrary to previous thought, the study has reported that a low-fat diet is not effective for long-term weight loss.


There has been continued controversy regarding the benefits of a low-fat diet for long-term weight loss, with clinical studies reporting both positive and negative results. A group of researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School have published a report in the Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology that has reviewed the evidence from previous clinical trials and assessed the benefit of low-fat diets in terms of weight loss, compared to low-carbohydrate diets, or high-fat diets.

The report identified over 53 weight loss studies, including a total of over 68 000 participants. The analysis of the combined data revealed that low-carbohydrate diets were associated with a significantly greater amount of weight loss when compared with low-fat diets. On the other hand, low-fat diets were not associated with a change in weight when compared with other higher-fat diets. The low-fat diets only showed benefit if they were compared with participants who maintained their usual diet.

The authors conclude that the evidence does not support that low-fat diets are superior to other dietary interventions in terms of long-term weight loss. Instead, current thinking on diets should be prompted to change. Overall dietary intake, portion sizes, and quality of food should become priority to maintain a healthy lifestyle.



Tobias, DK, Chen, M, Manson, JE, Ludwig, DS, Willett, W, Hu, FB. “Effect of low-fat diet interventions versus other diet interventions on long-term weight change in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis” Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, Published Online: 29 October 2015






Written by Deborah Tallarigo, PhD

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