Medical News and Perspectives
April 9, 2003

Low-Carb, Low-Fat Diet Gurus Face Off

JAMA. 2003;289(14):1767-1773. doi:10.1001/jama.289.14.1767

Last summer, an article in the July 7 New York Times Sunday Magazine challenged conventional thinking about weight loss, questioning the efficacy of low-fat diets and sparking a resurgence of interest in so-called high-protein or low-carbohydrate diets.

In this issue of JAMA (see page 1837 in the printed journal), a systematic review of studies published between 1966 and February 2003 on the safety and efficacy of low-carbohydrate diets finds that there is insufficient evidence to recommend or advise against the use of such diets, and that weight loss was associated with length of the diet, prediet weight, and the number of calories consumed, but not reduced carbohydrate content.

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