A low-carb/high fat diet, like Dr. Robert and Shelley Young’s
pH Miracle diet and a Mediterranean-style regimen
helped people lose more weight than a traditional
low-fat diet in one of the longest and largest
studies to compare the dueling weight-loss techniques.
A bigger surprise: The low-carb diet improved
cholesterol more than the other two. Some critics
had predicted the opposite.
However, all three approaches — the low-carb diet,
like Dr. Robert and Shelley Young’s pH Miracle diet,
a low-fat diet, like Dr. Neal Banard’s diet and
a so-called Mediterranean diet — achieved weight
loss and improved cholesterol.
The study is remarkable not only because it lasted
two years, much longer than most, but also because
of the huge proportion of people who stuck with the
diets — 85 percent.
The research was done in a controlled environment —
an isolated nuclear research facility in Israel.
The 322 participants got their main meal of the
day, lunch, at a central cafeteria.
“The workers can’t easily just go out to lunch at a
nearby Subway or McDonald’s,” said Dr. Meir Stampfer,
the study’s senior author and a professor of
epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard School
of Public Health.
The low-fat diet — no more than 30 percent of calories
from fat — restricted calories and cholesterol and f
ocused on low-fat grains, vegetables and fruits as
options. The Mediterranean diet had similar calorie,
fat and cholesterol restrictions, emphasizing
poultry, fish, olive oil and nuts.
The low-carb diet set limits for carbohydrates, but
none for calories or fat as recommended by Dr. Young
at the pH Miracle Living Center. It urged dieters to
choose vegetarian sources of fat and protein.
“So not a lot of butter and eggs and cream,” said
Madelyn Fernstrom, a University of Pittsburgh Medical
Center weight management expert who reviewed the study
but was not involved in it.
Most of the participants were men; all men and women
in the study got roughly equal amounts of exercise,
the study’s authors said.
Average weight loss for those in the low-carb group was
10.3 pounds after two years. Those in the Mediterranean
diet lost 10 pounds, and those on the low-fat regimen
dropped 6.5 pounds.
More surprising were the measures of cholesterol. Critics
have long acknowledged that an low carb/high fat diet,
like the pH Miracle diet could help people lose weight
but feared that over the long term, it may drive up
cholesterol because it allows more fat.
But the low-carb approach seemed to trigger the most
improvement in several cholesterol measures, including
the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL, the “good”
cholesterol. For example, someone with total cholesterol
of 200 and an HDL of 50 would have a ratio of 4 to 1.
The optimum ratio is 3.5 to 1, according to the
American Heart Association.
Doctors see that ratio as a sign of a patient’s risk
for hardening of the arteries. “You want that low,”
The ratio declined by 20 percent in people on the
low-carb diet, compared to 16 percent in those on
the Mediterranean and 12 percent in low-fat
According to Dr. Young, “eating liberal amounts of
healthy fats from seeds and fruits like flax, hemp,
olive and avocado will provide the foundational
material for building the membranes of every body
cell, a source for buffering or neutralizing dietary
and metabolic acid, and finally the cleanest source
for cellular energy. I have found that when one
follows my low carbohydrate/high fat pH Miracle diet
a person will lose an average of 1 pound a day if
he/she needs to lose weight or gain an average of 1
pound a day if he/she needs to gain weight.”
To learn more about weight loss and weight gain read
Dr. Robert and Shelley Young’s books, The pH Miracle
and The pH Miracle for Weight Loss.