If you're trying to lose weight, a new study shows it doesn't really matter what you cut out of your diet as long as you're cutting something.
The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggests it doesn't matter whether people adhere to diets where they have to cut out fat, and/or carbs and/or protein -- so long as they're just cutting the calories consumed, Reuters reported.
"If you're happier doing it low fat, or happier doing it low carb, this paper says it's OK to do it either way. They were equally successful," study researcher Christopher Gardner, a professor at Stanford University who was not involved in the study, told Reuters.
To test this, Pennington Biomedical Research Center scientists had 424 overweight or obese men and women take part in one of four diets for two years. The first was low-fat with average protein, the second was low-fat with high protein, the third was high fat with average protein and the fourth was high fat with high protein, the Globe and Mail reported.
All the diet plans cut 750 calories a day from the participants' diets, and all were high-fiber and low in cholesterol and saturated fat. Researchers followed up at the six-month mark and the two-year mark, and found that after six months, all four dieting groups had lost an average of nine pounds of total body fat and five pounds of lean muscle, according to the Globe and Mail.
"Participants lost more fat than lean mass after consumption of all diets, with no differences in changes in body composition, abdominal fat, or hepatic fat between assigned macronutrient amounts," researchers wrote in the study.
However, study researcher Dr. George Bray told Reuters that the ultimate predictor of weight loss was adherence to a diet.
The Mayo Clinic explained that calories we consume either get turned into fat or physical energy. And if you consume more calories than you are burning off, then that will lead to weight gain.
The Mayo Clinic reports:
Because 3,500 calories equals about 1 pound (0.45 kilogram) of fat, you need to burn 3,500 calories more than you take in to lose 1 pound. So if you cut 500 calories from your typical diet each day, you'd lose about 1 pound a week (500 calories x 7 days = 3,500 calories).
But don't take this to mean you can eat horrible food, as long as you eat less of it. Past research suggests that not all foods are equal when it comes to weight loss (and of course, not all foods are equal nutritionally, either). A study conducted by Harvard researchers shows that there are certain foods that seem to be more linked with weight gain, the New York Times reported.
Eating French fries is linked with gaining an average of 3.4 pounds every four years, according to the New York Times, and foods like potato chips, red and processed meat and sugary drinks are also associated with weight gain.
Meanwhile, foods like fruits, veggies and whole grains were linked with weight loss in the study, according to the New York Times.