A low-fat diet rich in fruits, vegetables and grains does not promote weight gain. The finding comes from large-scale clinical trials that look at the health impact of a low-fat high-fiber diet in post-menopausal women in the United States over a period of seven years.
Lead author Dr. Barbara Howard with MedStar Research Institute says women who followed a lower-fat eating pattern with more vegetables, fruits and grains, lost some weight at first. "About five pounds," she says, "and their weight all through the seven years was less than the women who did not follow this pattern."
The research puts into question a popular notion that carbohydrates are responsible for obesity. Dr. Howard says switching to a diet low in fat that includes fruits, vegetables and grains is a good first step toward serious weight loss. "If you want to follow this dietary pattern and you accompany it by an attempt to reduce calories or exercise more - be more active - then you should be able to lose weight," she says. "There is nothing about his dietary pattern that would interfere with weight loss or cause weight gain."
Dr. Howard says the same weight-loss pattern was observed across various ethnic groups. There was no tendency toward weight gain for those who followed the low fat, high fiber diet. The research was reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association.