The Effects of a Low-Carbohydrate Ketogenic Diet and a Low-Fat Diet on Mood, Hunger, and Other Self-Reported Symptoms*

Scale scores created by averaging the responses to each item on each scale served as the dependent variables in the analyses described below

F. Joseph McClernon; William S. Yancy; Jacqueline A. Eberstein; Robert C. Atkins; Eric C. Westman


Scholarcy highlights

  • The psychological effects of dieting and weight loss are variable
  • We observed significant improvements in a broad range of self-reported symptoms in a sample of adults who followed two different diets; we controlled for weight loss during the course of the trial
  • Compared with an low-fat diet, an LCKD was found to result in significantly less hunger and negative affect
  • Hunger was significantly lessened in the LCKD group for as long as 3 months
  • Because we controlled for weight loss in our statistical models, the present findings suggest that weight loss alone cannot account for improvements in mood and other symptoms during dieting
  • Because the Atkins Health Indicator Test symptoms were originally collected in a practice using a low-carbohydrate diet for weight loss, it is possible that the selection of symptoms on the measure used was somehow biased toward the positive effects of an LCKD as opposed to an LFD
  • The present study confirms that weight loss can result in significant improvement in a broad range of self-report symptoms and that, compared with an low-fat diet, an LCKD results in specific improvements in mood and decreased hunger

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