Low-Fat and Low-Carb Diets Found to be Effective

Category: Health


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. inhibit / ɪnˈhɪb ɪt / (v) – to prevent

    Her medical condition inhibits her from traveling overseas.

  2. shy away from / ʃaɪ əˈweɪ frʌm / (idiom) – to avoid something

    My dietitian said I need to shy away from carbohydrates if I want to lose weight.

  3. processed food / ˈprɒs ɛst fud / (n) – food that has changed from its original form by undergoing a process

    I stopped eating canned meat after I learned about the negative effects of processed food.

  4. bearing / ˈbɛər ɪŋ / (n) – influence on something

    Some doctors say that exercise does not have a bearing on weight loss.

  5. fad diet / fæd ˈdaɪ ɪt / (n) – a type of diet that promotes instant weight loss

    Celebrities usually follow fad diets because they need to maintain a certain weight.


Read the text below.

Low-fat and low-carbohydrate (low-carb) diets can both lead to effective weight loss, study reveals.

Stanford University School of Medicine researchers examined the weight loss progress of 609 18- to 50-year-old overweight adults by putting them on either a low-fat or a low-carb diet during a 12-month period.

A low-fat diet reduces consumption of products rich in fat like butter and cream. On the other hand, a low-carb diet cuts back on carb-loaded products like pasta and bread.

The participants first underwent two pre-study tests—genome sequencing and insulin tests. These tests determined if gene patterns or insulin—the hormone that regulates the cells’ sugar absorption—could inhibit or enhance the participants’ weight loss.

The low-fat group then consumed whole grains, seasonal fruits, lean meat, and low-fat dairy, while the low-carb group ate nuts, avocados, and grass-fed beef. All participants were asked to eat plenty of vegetables and fresh salads and to shy away from diet soda and processed food.

Study findings revealed that the participants, regardless of their gene patterns, insulin levels, and the diet they were on, lost an average of 13 lbs. Some even lost as much as 60 lbs. The researchers therefore concluded that the type of diet does not have a bearing on weight loss, as long as people opt for healthy food items.

Low-fat and low-carb diets are usually the foundation of many fad diets. While a negative connotation has been attached to these types of diets, some of them have actually been found to be effective. Some popular fad diets include the Dukan diet, a low-fat diet high in lean protein, and the Ketogenic diet, a low-carb and high-fat diet.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Which do you think is the most suitable for your lifestyle: a low-fat diet or a low-carb one? Why?
• What difficulties do you think can keep you from committing to this diet? Explain.

Discussion B

• Describe the typical diet of the people in your country. What are its good and bad points?
• Would you recommend this diet to other cultures? Why or why not?