A new study has suggested that heart-healthy diets that reduce calorie intake - regardless of differing proportions of fat, protein, or carbohydrate - can help overweight and obese adults achieve and maintain weight loss.
During the study, researchers found similar weight loss after six months and two years among participants assigned to four diets that differed in their proportions of these three major nutrients.
The diets were low or high in total fat (20 or 40 percent of calories) with average or high protein (15 or 25 percent of calories). Carbohydrate content ranged from 35 to 65 percent of calories.
The diets all used the same calorie reduction goals and were heart-healthy-low in saturated fat and cholesterol while high in dietary fiber.
Researchers found that on average, participants lost 13 pounds at six months and maintained a 9-pound loss at two years.
They also found that participants reduced their waistlines by 1 to 3 inches by the end of the study. Craving, fullness, hunger, and diet satisfaction were all similar across the four diets.
"These results show that, as long as people follow a heart-healthy, reduced-calorie diet, there is more than one nutritional approach to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight," said Elizabeth G. Nabel, M.D., director, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
"This provides people who need to lose weight with the flexibility to choose an approach that they're most likely to sustain-one that is most suited to their personal preferences and health needs," she added.
Research was conducted in Boston at Harvard University School of Public Health and at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, La
The study has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine.