A low-calorie, low-fat diet does more good to a dieters’ mood than a low-carbohydrate plan with the same number of calories, says a new study.
Obese individuals who lose weight tend to have an improved psychological state, including a better mood, according to the study report.
Grant D. Brinkworth of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and colleagues conducted a randomised clinical trial involving 106 overweight and obese participants who aged 50.
Of these, 55 had been randomly assigned to follow a very low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet and 51 to a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet for one year.
Changes in body weight, mood and well-being, and cognitive functioning (thinking, learning and memory skills) were assessed periodically during and following the one-year intervention.
After one year, the overall average weight loss was 13.7 kg, with no difference between the two groups. Both groups initially (after the first eight weeks) experienced an improvement in mood.
However, most measurements of mood revealed a lasting improvement in only those following the low-fat diet, while those on the high-fat diet returned to their initial levels (mood turned towards more negative baseline levels).
“The obesity epidemic has led to widespread interest in alternative dietary patterns for weight management,” the authors write.
“While recent clinical studies have shown that low-carbohydrate diets can be an effective alternative dietary approach for weight loss, their long-term effects on psychological function, including mood and cognition, have been poorly studied.
“This outcome suggests that some aspects of the low-carbohydrate diet may have had detrimental effects on mood that, over the term of one year, negated any positive effects of weight loss,” the authors write, according to a CSIRO release.
These findings were published in the November issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.