When it comes to weight loss, both a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet and a low-fat, high-carb diet appear to help people lose pounds. However, only the low-fat diets will boost your mood in the long run, according to a new study published in the November 9 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.
For this study, 106 overweight and obese adults, who averaged 50 years old, were randomly assigned to one of two diets - a low-calorie, low-carb, high-fat plan or a high-carb, low-fat diet - for one year. Both diets restricted calories to about 1,433 to 1,672 a day.
A year later, average weight loss was about the same in each group - about 30 pounds.
After the first eight weeks, participants in both groups showed improvements in mood, but after one year, the mood of those in the high-fat group returned to what it had been before they started dieting while low-fat group reported continued feelings of happiness and psychological well-being.
The exact mechanism for the observed effects on mood still remains largely unknown, explains the lead author.
It's thought that more carbs can increase serotonin concentrations in the brain, whereas added fat and protein can reduce concentrations. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter involved in mood.
Since overeating can trigger gulit and a bad mood, it appears that following a very low-carbohydrate diet for longer than one year may affect ones attitude towards eating and weight loss maintenance.
For more information on long-term weight loss and weight loss maintenance, check out how you can work one-on-one with Leslie Beck, RD.
This is the first study to show both long-term weight loss and improved mood from the low-fat diet.
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