Friday, November 26, 2010

My Thanksgiving Present From My Doctor

He emailed me a link from the New England Journal of Medicine of an editorial about this study:

"Diets with High or Low Protein Content and Glycemic Index for Weight-Loss Maintenance"

Basically, they starved people for a bit, and then put them on a bunch of different diets to see how they did.

Dr. Briffa commented on this study this morning:

"However, the truly interesting part of this study concerned what happened next. Each of the study participants was randomised to eat one of five diets. These were:

1. a relatively high-protein, low-glycaemic index (GI) diet

2. a relatively high-protein, high-GI diet

3. a relatively low-protein, low-GI diet

4. a relatively low-protein, high-GI diet

5. a ‘control’ diet

"For each of the diet, individuals could eat as much as they like. This phase of the study lasted 6 months."

As Dr. Briffa notes, and I'll paraphrase: If you've been reading about or eating in a Paleo, Primal, or Low-Carb manner, nothing in this study will come as a surprise. It works, it works better than the alternative, and you'll be quite happy eating this way for the long term.

Of course, if you listen to Jimmy Moore's excellent "Living La Vida Low-Carb" podcast, you would have already heard this interview with Dr. Ludwig, the author of the editorial in NEJM:

Dr. David Ludwig: Are Carbs Turning Your Kid’s Liver Into Foie Gras?

What's really fascinating about this study is that it involved entire families, not just individuals:

"Investigators observed that in families where the participating adult was randomized to the high-protein/low GI diet, the percentage of overweight/obese children in those families actually fell over the course of the study."

I think a good label for it would be the "Cheating Diet": you eat great, you feel great, and as a happy side-effect, you lose weight.