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Low Carb-Mediterranean Diet Combo Sheds Fat in Clinical Trial (Average Weight Loss 35lbs in a Year)

Published on January 21, 2014,

The brain health and neuroscience bog Brain Posts has highlighted an interesting new research study that has combined low carb, high fat ketogenic dieting (for weight loss) and the Mediterranean diet (for maintenance) into a structured intervention for obese subjects with very positive results…

Mediterranean diet (close up)

Mediterranean diet (close up) (Photo credit: grobery)

Antonio Paoli and colleagues from Italy and Greece conducted a clinical trial in obese subjects that included the following key components:

Subjects: 68 subjects with mean BMI >30 between 25 and 65 years of age without diabetes or other severe chronic illness

Diet intervention: One clinical trial with two cycles of 20 days of a very low carbohydrate diet (30 grams carbohydrate per day), 20 days of low carbohydrate diet (90 grams carbohydrate per day) separated by 4 and 6 month Mediterranean diet maintenance phases (260 grams carbohydrate per day). During carbohydrate restriction cycles, subjects received vitamin, mineral and herbal supplementation.

Measurements: Body weight, body fat, lipids, blood glucose, liver and kidney function and blood pressure

The results of clinical trial were pretty impressive. The average weight loss over 12 months was 16 kilograms or 35 pounds. That is an average 15% loss of body weight. Mean BMI dropped from 35.4 to 30.3. Mean percent body fat decreased from 43% to 34%.

Metabolic parameters improved with weight loss over the trial with mean total cholesterol dropping from 193 to 180, fasting glucose from 102 to 95. Mean blood pressure dropped from 125 to 118 systolic.

The authors note there is significant skepticism by medical professionals about very low carbohydrate diets. There is limited long-term efficacy and safety data. There were no serious adverse effects or deaths noted in the study from participation in the study. The completion rate was high suggesting subjects tolerated the trial.

More at: Low Carb-Mediterranean Diet Combo Sheds Fat in Trial

Read more about the study here: Long Term Successful Weight Loss with a Combination Biphasic Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet and Mediterranean Diet Maintenance Protocol

You can follow Brain Posts author Bill Yates on twitter @WRY999

Study shows very low carb diet results in weight loss but not strength loss in elite performers

Published on September 11, 2012,

The strength training blog Poliquin reports on a groundbreaking new study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition by Antonio Paoli and colleagues that found putting elite male gymnasts on a high-protein, very low-carb diet did not compromise strength performance or muscle mass but it did produce fat loss. This is very interesting for anyone on a low carb diet but potentially of huge significance for athletes and sports players who compete in weight categories…

This is from Poliquin…

The study used gymnasts from the Italian national team and put them on a one-month very low-carb diet in which they ate 54.8 percent fat, 40.7 percent protein and 4.5 percent carbs (carbs totaled no more than 28 grams, strictly from green vegetable sources).  The study included a “control” portion that was conducted three months after the low-carb diet in which the gymnasts ate their regular diet for a month (composed of 46.8 percent carb, 38.5 percent fat, and 14.7 percent protein) and then performed the same body composition and strength tests.

And this is the abstract from the original paper…


Despite the increasing use of very low carbohydrate ketogenic diets (VLCKD) in weight control and management of the metabolic syndrome there is a paucity of research about effects of VLCKD on sport performance. Ketogenic diets may be useful in sports that include weight class divisions and the aim of our study was to investigate the influence of VLCKD on explosive strength performance.


8 athletes, elite artistic gymnasts (age 20.9 ± 5.5 yrs) were recruited. We analyzed body composition and various performance aspects (hanging straight leg raise, ground push up, parallel bar dips, pull up, squat jump, countermovement jump, 30 sec continuous jumps) before and after 30 days of a modified ketogenic diet. The diet was based on green vegetables, olive oil, fish and meat plus dishes composed of high quality protein and virtually zero carbohydrates, but which mimicked their taste, with the addition of some herbal extracts. During the VLCKD the athletes performed the normal training program. After three months the same protocol, tests were performed before and after 30 days of the athletes’ usual diet (a typically western diet, WD). A one-way Anova for repeated measurements was used.


No significant differences were detected between VLCKD and WD in all strength tests. Significant differences were found in body weight and body composition: after VLCKD there was a decrease in body weight (from 69.6 ± 7.3 Kg to 68.0 ± 7.5 Kg) and fat mass (from 5.3 ± 1.3 Kg to 3.4 ± 0.8 Kg p < 0.001) with a non-significant increase in muscle mass.


Despite concerns of coaches and doctors about the possible detrimental effects of low carbohydrate diets on athletic performance and the well known importance of carbohydrates there are no data about VLCKD and strength performance. The undeniable and sudden effect of VLCKD on fat loss may be useful for those athletes who compete in sports based on weight class. We have demonstrated that using VLCKD for a relatively short time period (i.e. 30 days) can decrease body weight and body fat without negative effects on strength performance in high level athletes.

You can read the report from Poliquin here:  Tip 428: Eat a High-Protein, Low-Carb Diet to Lose Fat While Maintaining Strength & Power and the full paper from the JISSN here: Ketogenic diet does not affect strength performance in elite artistic gymnasts

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