Carbs? It’s calories that count

Researchers at Yale and Stanford have concluded that cutting out potatoes, pasta and bread doesn’t necessarily translate into greater weight loss than high-carbohydrate diets. At least there’s little published evidence to support the theory behind the Atkins and other low-carb diets, they reported this spring. “We found that calorie content and how long you’re on the diet are the factors that predict weight loss, and not carbohydrate content,” said Dawn M. Bravata, M.D., assistant professor of medicine and a co-author of the study. (The lead author was Bravata’s twin sister, Dena Bravata, M.D., who’s at Stanford.)

The study, published in JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association in April, examined past research to gauge the effect of cutting back on starch. “The medical literature is lacking studies about the long-term safety and efficacy of low-carbohydrate diets,” Dawn Bravata said. “We need these kinds of studies in order to counsel patients who want to lose weight.”

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