A healthy physical weight can be maintained by a low fat diet into old age, according to a new US study, which reveals that calorie counting is unnecessary. The study on nearly 50,000 post-menopausal women in the US, published in the medical journal, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), comes to the conclusion that reducing fat intake to under 20% of the overall daily calories was enough to maintain a stable weight.
This discredits supporters of weight-loss programs such as the protein-focused Atkins diet, in which carbohydrates are cut and fat intake is allowed to increase, said the study's author Barbara Howard.
In the first year of the trial, participating women on average lost five pounds on the low-fat diet. Even after more than seven years, the women were still lighter than they had been before. This was particularly remarkable because women usually gain weight steadily after menopause, Howard said.