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Quality diet based on fruits, vegetables and whole grains supports weight loss

Diets can be overwhelming. Most Registered Dietitians (RD) will estimate your calorie needs and develop a meal plan that provides a calorie level in line with your weight goals. Then it’s up to you to stay within that guideline, count calories and watch your portions. All too often, unpleasantries such as calorie counting, deprivation and omitting foods we enjoy eating are associated with improving weight. Luckily, a recent study may have helped to turn this standard diet-think on its head.

Research published in The Journal of the American Medical Association set out to understand whether a healthy low fat (HLF) diet or a low carbohydrate (HLC) diet produced superior weight loss over 12 months. They also wanted to know whether or not our specific genes or insulin response play a role in the effectiveness of the diets. Six hundred participants were randomized to a diet and received instruction from a RD over the 12 months to help them comply with their assigned diet. Those on HLF were instructed to reduce intake of edible oils, fatty meats and full fat dairy. HLC dieters were coached to reduce cereals, grains, rice, starchy vegetables and legumes. However both groups were instructed to maximize vegetable intake while minimizing processed foods and foods with added sugars, refined flours and trans fats.  Minimally processed meals at home were encouraged as much as possible and no calorie restrictions were provided.

At the end of 12 months, dieters lost between 11-13 pounds, regardless of their genotype and insulin tests. Though unproductive in proving one diet more successful over another, this study was effective in showing that a high quality diet with a foundation of fruits and vegetables is a winning diet plan for anyone.

If we’ve piqued your curiosity about HLC and HLF diets, here are some sample recipes to give you an idea of what these guidelines look like. No matter which you choose, they’re all delicious!

HLC recipe: Southwestern Gazpacho, Chicken with Broccoli and Parsley Walnut Pesto

HLF recipe: Cabbage Soup , Baked Banana Chutney Chicken

Published April 1, 2018

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