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Calories, Not Protein or Carbs, Are Key to Weight Loss: Study
Date:6/27/2011

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

SUNDAY, June 26 (HealthDay News) -- Curbing calories is the key ingredient for diabetics seeking to lose weight, and low-fat diets that are either high in protein or high in carbs are equally effective, researchers say.

"I think there are two key messages from this study," said study lead author Jeremy D. Krebs, a senior lecturer with the school of medicine and health sciences at the University of Otago in Wellington, New Zealand. "The first is that no matter what diet we prescribe, people find it extremely difficult to sustain the changes from their habitual diet over a long time. But if they are able to follow either a high-protein diet or a high-carbohydrate diet, they can achieve modest weight loss."

Krebs said this first message conveys flexibility and allows people to choose the approach that best suits them and "even to swap between dietary approaches when they get bored."

The second point "is that for people with diabetes, if they can adhere to either diet and achieve weight loss, then they do get benefits in terms of their diabetes control and cardiovascular risk," he added.

Krebs and his colleagues are scheduled to report their findings Sunday in San Diego at the American Diabetes Association meeting.

To compare the potential benefits of two popular dietetic approaches, the authors tracked nearly 300 overweight men and women between the ages of 35 and 75 who were on a new, two-year nutritional program.

To start, all the participants had a body mass index greater than 27, meaning they were moderately overweight, and all had type 2 diabetes.

The researchers randomly assigned the participants to one of two groups: a low-fat/high-protein group or a low-fat/high-carb group.

For the first half year, all attended twice-weekly group sessions led by a dietitian; for the following six months, sessions took place monthly.

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