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.