Remember Shai et al’s 2008 DIRECT study that compared weight loss over two years on either a low-carb, low-fat, or Mediterranean diet? I reviewed it at length in 2008.
The same Isreali researchers now report the results of an additional four years of follow-up. Do you know of any other weight loss study over that length of time? I don’t.
Of the 322 original study participants, 259 were available for follow-up for an additional four years. Of these, 67% told researchers they had continued their originally assigned diet.
Over six years, the weight loss was as follows:
- 0.6 kg (about a pound) in the low-fat group
- 1.7 kg (almost 4 pounds) in the low-carb cohort
- 3.1 kg (almost 7 pounds) in the Mediterranean group
The difference between the low-carb and Mediterranean groups was not statistically significant.
Almost all the original study participants (86%) were men, so it’s debatable whether these results apply to women. I bet they do. I assume most of the participants were Israeli, so you can also debate whether results apply to other nationalities or ethnicities.
For long-term weight management, Mediterranean and low-carb diets appear to be more effective than traditional low-fat, calorie-restricted dieting.
Beth Mazur at her Weight Maven blog has some worthwhile comments about the study.
Incidentally, my Advanced Mediterranean Diet (2nd Edition) book features both a traditional Mediterranean diet and the world’s first low-carb Mediterranean diet.