Which diet is the best for weight loss and cardiovascular health? This is one of the most common questions that health professionals are asked and which a new study from the British Journal of Medicine seeks to answer. This study was a systemic review and meta-analysis of over 100 randomized trials on diet programs for weight loss and cardiovascular health. The review focused on three main types of diets: low carbohydrate, moderate macronutrients and low fat. Diets included in this study were: low fat, low carbohydrate, Mediterranean, Jenny Craig, dietary advice, DASH, Biggest Loser, Atkins, Zone, South Beach, Slimming World, Rosemary Conley, Portfolio, Paleolithic and Ornish. Each diet was evaluated for its impact for the outcomes of weight loss, blood pressure, blood lipoproteins (cholesterol) and C reactive protein (marker of inflammation) at 6 months compared to the standard American diet.
- Most effective: Atkins, Jenny Craig
- Moderately Effective: Zone, DASH, Mediterranean, Paleolithic, low fat, volumetric, Weight Watchers, Rosemary Conley and Ornish
Systolic Blood Pressure Reduction:
- Most effective: Paleolithic
- Moderately Effective: Atkins, Zone, DASH, Mediterranean, low fat, portfolio
Diastolic Blood Pressure Reduction:
- Most effective: Atkins
- Moderately Effective: Zone, DASH, low fat
Low Density Lipoprotein Reduction:
- Most effective: Mediterranean
- Slightly Effective: DASH, low fat, Ornish, dietary advice
C-reactive Protein Reduction:
- No diets found to significantly decrease CRP compared to usual diet
The results of this study concludes that there is not sufficient evidence at this time to identify one diet as superior for achieving weight loss and improved blood pressure, cholesterol and c-reactive protein measures. If you are interested in these outcomes, nutrition experts recommend following a few tips, regardless of what diet you are on:
- Avoid added sugar
- Reduce your intake of sodium/salt
- Focus on whole foods
- Incorporate plant-based proteins into your meals
- Engage in 120 minutes of moderate exercise each week
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- Ge L, Sadeghirad B, Ball GDC, et al. Comparison of dietary macronutrient patterns of 14 popular named dietary programmes for weight and cardiovascular risk factor reduction in adults: systematic review and network meta-analysis of randomised trials. Bmj. January 2020:m696. doi:10.1136/bmj.m696.