A high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet could improve your psychological state, according to research recently published in the Archives of Internal Medicine journal. The study also revealed no difference in weight loss when compared with a high fat, low carb diet, similar to the Atkins diet.

The study was carried out on 106 overweight and obese participants with the aim of investigating the long-term effect on psychological function of very low-carb diets, often used to promote weight loss.

The participant group had a mean age of 50 years old, and a mean body mass index (weight in kilograms divided by height in metres, squared) of 33.7.

They were randomly assigned to either an energy restricted (approximately 1,433-1,672 calorie), planned isocaloric, very low-carbohydrate, high fat diet (LC), or alternatively to a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet (LF), for one year. Changes in body weight, psychological mood and well-being and cognitive functioning were then analysed.

The results showed the overall mean weight loss was 13.7kg, with no significant difference apparent between the two groups. It also revealed that there were greater improvements in psychological mood states for people on the LF diet, compared to the LC diet. Working memory improved although speed of processing remained unchanged.

The study found that there were rapid improvements after both energy-restricted LC and LF diets in the first eight weeks of the year, with those on the LF diet achieving a better outcome overall.

However, the study concluded that: “there was no evidence that the dietary macronutrient composition of LC and LF diets affected cognitive functioning over the long term”.

To see the study click here.