Low-fat or Low-carb Diet? It May Not Matter

This content is recommended for 30~60 minute sessions. Note that tutors may not be familiar with the content. Make sure you consult with your tutor before using this material. 


After a quick greeting, read the following article out loud. Your tutor will go over pronunciation if necessary.

David Di Veroli / Unsplash

[P1] Dieting is a very personal challenge. A specific eating regimen your friend swears by just may not work for you, and research has shown that there is probably no one-size-fits-all solution for weight loss. Now, when it comes to the recently popular question of whether cutting carbs or fat is better, new research from the Stanford University School of Medicine has found it may not matter.

[P2] The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, followed 609 overweight adults, ages 18 to 50, half men and half women, who were put on a healthy low-fat diet or a healthy low-carbohydrate diet for 12 months. About 20% of the participants dropped out because of different circumstances. Results showed that people who cut out carbs or fat while maintaining a healthy diet shaved off about the same proportion of excess weight.

[P3] To account for individual differences, the participants did two pre-study activities. They had their genome sequenced so the researchers could look for specific gene patterns that could enhance or inhibit weight loss, and they also received tests for levels of insulin, a hormone produced in the pancreas.

[P4] Overall, genome and insulin levels didn’t affect a person’s success on either diet. “We’ve all heard stories of a friend who went on one diet. It worked great. And then another friend tried the same diet, and it didn’t work at all,” Christopher Gardner, a professor of medicine who was the lead author of the study, said in a statement. “It’s because we’re all very different, and we’re just starting to understand the reasons for this diversity. Maybe we shouldn’t be asking what’s the best diet, but what’s the best diet for whom?”

[P5] Notably, study participants were encouraged to pursue healthy low-fat and low-carb diet period. This diet would not allow for diet sodas or foods that aren’t particularly nutritious just because they are low in fat or carbs.

[P6] “We made sure to tell everybody, regardless of which diet they were on, to go to the farmer’s market, and not to buy processed convenience-food crap,” Gardner said. “Also, we advised them to diet in a way that didn’t make them feel hungry or deprived, otherwise it’s hard to maintain the diet in the long run. We wanted them to choose a low-fat or low-carb diet plan that they could potentially follow forever, rather than a diet that they’d drop when the study ended.”

[P7] By the end of the 12 months, participants lost 13 pounds on average. But some people lost more than 60 pounds, while a few gained about 15 or 20. The researchers say, the takeaway is that going for healthier and nutritious options are the way forward.

[P8] “On both sides, we heard from people who had lost the most weight that we had helped them change their relationship to food, and that now they were more thoughtful about how they ate,” Gardner said.

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/low-fat-and-low-carb-diets-are-equally-effective-2018-2


Read the word/expression and definition out loud. Your tutor will go over anything you do not understand. Practice creating a sentence or two to make sure you know how to use the word/expression properly.

Vocabulary/ Expressions

Expression Definition
regimen (n) a plan or set of rules about food, exercise, etc., to make someone become or stay healthy
e.g. a daily training/exercise regimen
swear by (expression) to announce one’s full faith and trust in someone or something
e.g. I would swear by Roger any time.
shave off (expression) To cut something, especially hair, from the surface of the skin
e.g. I shaved my beard off.
inhibit (v) to keep (someone) from doing what he or she wants to do
e.g. You shouldn’t allow fear of failure to inhibit you.
deprive (v) to take something away from someone or something : to not allow (someone or something) to have or keep (something)
e.g. They’re depriving him of a chance to succeed.

Discussion Questions

Use the following questions as a guideline to help develop an interesting conversation with your tutor. Feel free to diverge from these suggestions if anything interesting comes up.

  1. Summarize the article in your own words.
  2. Describe your typical meal. How much protein, carbohydrate, and fat do you consume?
  3. Have you tried any specific eating regimen? How did it work for you?
  4. What is the benefit and loss of having a specific diet? Share your thoughts with your Cambly tutor!


Go over any new expressions or vocabulary that you learned today.

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