Low-Carb Matches Low-Fat Diet On Weight Loss -- With A Heart Bonus : Shots - Health News As more Americans than ever struggle with obesity, a new study finds that a low-carb diet is just as good as a low-fat one in helping people shed pounds. The low-carb diet proved better when it comes to cholesterol.
NPR logo Low-Carb Matches Low-Fat Diet On Weight Loss -- With A Heart Bonus

Low-Carb Matches Low-Fat Diet On Weight Loss — With A Heart Bonus

Hold the muffin, please. Lauri Patterson/iStockphoto.com hide caption

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Lauri Patterson/iStockphoto.com

We'll take the egg, bacon and cheese tomorrow morning and skip the muffin altogether. And you know what? We'll feel good about it. Very good indeed.

Why? Because we've got some more ammo for the low-carb diet we've been hankering to try.

Like you, we'd guess, we would probably be better off a few pounds lighter. Today, in fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that weight problems in the U.S. are absolutely rampant, with 72.5 million adults now obese.

Turns out that obese people whose carbohydrates were restricted, but who could chow down on as much fat and protein as they wanted, lost and kept off as much weight as those on a low-fat diet after two years, a new study finds.

Both groups of dieters had lost about 7 percent of their weight at the end of the study.

But in a bonus, the folks on the Atkins-style diet had better -- not worse -- cholesterol, including a boost to HDL, or good cholesterol, which helps reduce heart risks.

Now, it's true that you have to do more than just watch what you eat. A key part of this study, the researchers point out, is that people also had to change their lifestyle.

They got some training in how to approach weight loss and attended weekly group sessions with other dieters for the first five months. After that, they went to group meetings every other week for the duration of the study.

Temple University's Gary Foster, who led the research, said in a statement that the study "tells us that people wanting to manage their weight need to be less concerned with which diet they choose, and more concerned with incorporating behavioral changes into their plan.

The results appear in the latest issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine. And if you want a quick overview, there's a video press release from the journal.