The keto diet has long been touted as one of the best ways to lose fat, and while that may be true, a new study shows that there may be even better ways to shed pounds and cut your consumption. Research published in Nature Medicine examined both the keto diet and a plant-based, low-fat diet to see which is more effective, and the results might just surprise you.
The study was led by a scientist at the National Institutes of Health named Kevin Hall. Hall took a group of 20 people and put half on a keto diet, which is a low-carb, high-fat diet, and he put half of the people on a high-carb, low-fat, plant-based diet. They all stuck with their designated diet for two weeks and then switched to the other one. This way, Hall was able to get the results of every subject for both diets to truly see which worked better for consumption, insulin levels, and fat loss overall.
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At the end of the study, Hall found that those on the low-fat diet had a larger cut in consumption: By about 700 calories per day, on average. On keto, the drop was closer to 300 calories a day. Hall also noted that the low-fat diet led to a little bit more fat loss than keto, but it was minimal. However, the study was only for a short period of time, so it’s a bit unclear how much more fat could have been lost during a longer period of time.
Hall primarily wanted to look at the insulin levels of the subjects, which he shared with The Washington Post. As The Post pointed out, your body processes carbs with insulin, and when you cut carbs, as you do on the keto diet, it affects your body’s insulin level. In this study, Hall found that while the low-fat diet did cut down on consumption, he told The Post, the subjects’ insulin levels were “through the roof.” (Related: Is the Keto Diet Safe? The Real Risks and Rewards of Going Ultra-Low Carb)
Every diet will work differently for every body, and if you’re looking to make a lifestyle change to lose fat or trim some inches, your best bet is to work with your healthcare provider to figure out what will work best for you. While a keto diet is effective in helping people lose weight, it may not be the best choice for you, and it’s certainly not a long-term diet. Thanks to this study, we now know a low-fat diet can be just as effective, if not more so, in helping you lose fat.
As always, studies are constantly being done on all these diets, and scientists and researchers are learning more and more about them every day. For more health news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter.