An intermittent low-carb diet could be better than a standard low-calorie Mediterranean diet for weight loss and lowering insulin, a study finds.
Low-carb diets have been shown in a number of studies to be superior to regular low-calorie diets for various weight health outcomes, but they’re notoriously difficult to stick to for a number of people. In this study, researchers followed 115 women who had a family history of breast cancer for four months as they were randomly assigned to one of three diet programs.
One was a very calorie-restricted (650 calories) low-carb diet for two days a week, one was a low-carb diet in which participants could eat unlimited amounts of protein and healthy fats for two days a week, and the last was a standard 1,500-calorie-per-day Mediterranean diet followed every day.
Both of the low-carb diets beat the Mediterranean diet for lowering weight and improving insulin resistance. Women in the low-carb groups lost an average of about 9 pounds, compared to about five pounds in the Mediterranean diet group. Insulin resistance dropped an average 22 percent in the calorie-restricted low-carb group, 14 percent in the all-you-can-eat low-carb group and 4 percent in the Mediterranean diet group.
“Weight loss and reduced insulin levels are required for breast cancer prevention, but (these levels) are difficult to achieve and maintain with conventional dietary approaches,” said co-author Michelle Harvie of the Genesis Breast Cancer Prevention Appeal in England in a news release.
The study was presented last week at the Cancer Therapy & Research Center-American Association for Cancer Research San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.