Posted - December 15, 2009

Low-Fat Diet may be Better for your Mood

New research suggests that while there may be more than one way to lose weight, only one diet plan will help you improve your mood while you’re shedding pounds.

A study in the Nov. 9 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine compared the weight loss and moods of people on low-carb diets and low-fat diets. While both groups of dieters lost weight, only people sticking with a low-fat diet noticed long-term mood improvement.

During the study, both groups of dieters consumed about the same amount of calories. One group focused on a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet similar to the popular Atkins diet, while the other group was put on a more traditional high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet.

The study concluded that the diet plans were equally effective for achieving weight loss, with an average weight loss of 30 pounds after a year. Also, both weight loss plans had similar effects on working memory and speed of processing. In addition, dieters on both plans experienced a short-term mood improvement during the first eight weeks of weight loss.

However, only the dieters on the low-fat plan reported significant mood improvements after a year. Low-carb dieters reported that their moods were the same as they had been before they began losing weight.

More research is needed to explain why low-fat diets may have a better overall effect on mood than low-carb plans. One possible explanation is that carbohydrates can increase serotonin in the brain, which is a neurotransmitter involved in mood.