- With Mayo Clinic preventive medicine specialist
Donald Hensrud, M.D.read biographyclose window
Donald Hensrud, M.D.Donald Hensrud, M.D., M.P.H., M.S.
Dr. Donald D. Hensrud is chair of the Division of Preventive, Occupational and Aerospace Medicine with a joint appointment in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, Metabolism, & Nutrition at Mayo Clinic. He is an associate professor of preventive medicine and nutrition at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine. Dr. Hensrud directed the Executive Health Program at Mayo Clinic for more than 10 years.
He received his B.S. from the University of North Dakota, M.D. from the University of Hawaii, M.P.H. from the University of Minnesota and M.S. in nutrition sciences from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He completed residency training in internal medicine and fellowship training in preventive medicine at Mayo Clinic and completed a clinical nutrition fellowship at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Dr. Hensrud is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine, the American Board of Preventive Medicine and the American Board of Physician Nutrition Specialists, of which he is a past president.
His career interests have combined nutrition, weight management, and prevention. He is the author of many scientific articles and book chapters and was editor of Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight for EveryBody; The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook, which won a 2005 James Beard Foundation award; The Mayo Clinic Plan: 10 Essential Steps to a Better Body & Healthier Life; and The Mayo Clinic Diet, published in January 2010.
Dr. Hensrud says healthy lifestyle habits in diet and physical activity are extremely important as evidenced by a large body of scientific evidence. He also says implementing these lifestyle habits is realistic, sustainable and enjoyable. A primary goal of his work is to help people achieve this.
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The Mayo Clinic Diet blog
Sept. 24, 2010
Low-fat vs. low-carb
By Donald Hensrud, M.D.
Over time, many different types of diets have been popular, including low-fat and low-carb diets. Some years ago, low-fat was the mantra. More recently low-carb has been the rage, promising effortless weight loss while eating all the high-fat foods you want.
Low-fat usually means high-carb but doesn't always mean low-calorie if someone eats too many carbs, particularly processed carbs that are more concentrated in calories. Conversely, low-carb usually means high-fat. Many people who have tried this type of diet know it can be difficult to continue for a long time because a lot of good tasting fruits and other carbohydrates are off limits and high-fat goodies do get a little old after a while.
The most important factor related to weight loss is not low-fat or low-carb — it is calories. Either type of diet could lead to weight loss if total calorie intake is low.
There have been a number of studies comparing weight loss with these two types of diets. In general, low-carb diets may result in a little more weight loss in the first 3 to 6 months. However, after 1 to 2 years there isn't much difference. What's interesting is that the amount of weight loss varies widely among people following either diet. So which type of diet you choose may matter less than whether you stick to it.
Another important factor is the healthfulness of the diet — and both of these types of diets could be healthy or unhealthy, depending on the types of fats and carbohydrates that are consumed. Other things that may influence how long a diet is followed include taste, satisfaction, satiety and practicality.
The Mayo Clinic Diet emphasizes healthy carbs (fruit, and whole-grain products) and fats (olive oil, nuts and vegetable oils). By consuming lower amounts of less healthy carbs (sugar, white flour, and other processed carbs) and less healthy fats (saturated and trans fats), total calorie intake is lower. Because the emphasize is also on good tasting foods, unlimited vegetables and fruits to achieve satiety, and making lifestyle changes and not a short-term "diet," the Mayo Clinic Diet can be easier to follow long-term.
What have been your experiences with low-fat or low-carb diets?blog index