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LOW-FAT VERSUS MODERATE FAT DIETS
Joe Klemczewski, PhD
The never-ending search for the perfect diet continues. L.G. Rasmussen, et al, created a six-month, controlled, isocaloric diet study comparing a low-fat (20 to 30% of calories from fat) and a moderate-fat diet (35 to 45% of calories coming from fat). This left carbs at a 55 to 65% range and 40 to 50% respectively. One key point in this study reported by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2007, 85, 1014-1022, was that meal-induced thermogenesis was much greater after the higher carb meals. That means it takes more energy to digest and assimilate the carbs than it does fat. This is a key indication of metabolism. Interestingly, however, at the end of six months there was very little difference in actual fat loss. The researchers concluded that a great asset in this study was control and compliance and therefore any potential benefit to better fat loss “in the real world” may be due to satiety or other behavioral aspects of either diet that this study didn’t allow for. That’s actually a good point – much of the results could come from how one diet affects energy and hunger if the subjects weren’t closely controlled.
My personal opinion is that the low-fat and moderate-fat experimental groups were just too close together in number. I don’t consider 20 to 30% of calories coming from fat that low, and compared to 35 to 45%, that’s just not far enough apart to see significant differences. Knowing that thermogenesis is increased with more carbs (proven here), that carbs increase metabolism, and that carbs spare muscle, this is another study that when taken in context with all other research, shows that keeping fat lower and carbs higher is physiologically superior to high-fat dieting.