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Want to Lose Weight? Just Eat Less, Diet Study Suggests
Date:2/25/2009

Comparison of 4 diet plans finds all produce similar results,,

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 25 (HealthDay News) -- If you want to lose weight, it doesn't seem to matter what type of diet plan you choose. What really matters is that you just eat less.

A study in the Feb. 26 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine compared a variety of diet plans -- which emphasized varying degrees of fat, protein and carbohydrates -- and found that any eating plan that causes you to consume fewer calories will help you lose weight.

"This study has a very practical, useful message," said study author Dr. Frank Sacks, a professor of cardiovascular disease prevention at the Harvard School of Public Health. "It doesn't really matter much the specific type of diet -- see what suits you best. The focus should be on reducing calories. That's what really counts."

Intense debates have raged over what type of diet plan is best. Study results on low-fat diets and high-protein diets have been mixed, with none providing conclusive evidence, according to background information in Sacks' study.

To try to answer the question of what works best, Sacks and his colleagues recruited 811 overweight people, about 40 percent of them men, from two cities -- Boston and Baton Rouge, La.

They were randomly assigned to follow one of four diets:

  • Low-fat, average-protein diet made up of 20 percent fat, 15 percent protein and 65 percent carbohydrates.
  • Low-fat, high-protein diet of 20 percent fat, 25 percent protein and 55 percent carbohydrates.
  • High-fat, average-protein plan containing 40 percent fat, 15 percent protein and 45 percent carbohydrates.
  • High-fat, high-protein diet of 40 percent fat, 25 percent protein and 35 percent carbohydrates

All groups were told to keep saturated fat to no more than 8 percent of their daily intake of calor
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