The effectiveness of low-fat diet on weight-loss has been debated for decades, and hundreds of randomized clinical trials aimed at evaluating this issue have been conducted with mixed results. Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (HSPH) conducted a comprehensive review of the data generated from randomized clinical trials that explored the efficacy of a low-fat diet and found that low-fat interventions were no more successful than higher-fat interventions in achieving and maintaining weight loss for periods longer than one year.

These results were published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology on October 30, 2015.

“Despite the pervasive dogma that one needs to cut fat from their diet in order to lose weight, the existing scientific evidence does not support low-fat diets over other dietary interventions for long-term weight loss,” said Deirdre Tobias, a researcher in the Division of Preventive Medicine at BWH. “In fact, we did not find evidence that is particularly supportive of any specific proportion of calories from fat for meaningful long-term weight loss. We need to look beyond the ratios of calories from fat, carbs, and protein to a discussion of healthy eating patterns, whole foods, and portion sizes. Finding new ways to improve diet adherence for the long-term and preventing weight gain in the first place are important strategies for maintaining a healthy weight.”

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