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A diet high in carbohydrate and fibre is currently recommended for the general population (and for those with diabetes or at high risk of developing diabetes). However many people, especially Māori, find this diet unacceptable and prefer high protein or high fat dietary regimes, which are promoted as more beneficial for weight loss. These diets have had little formal evaluation except in small studies of short duration. None has assessed the effect on risk indicators after weight loss has plateaued.

Comparing diets' impact

The first study within this series compared diets higher in fat or protein than is currently recommended with the conventional diet, in insulin resistant individuals. Our aim was to determine whether the approaches differ in their potential to promote weight loss and improve risk factors for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease during and after the initial weight loss phase. The results of this study have now been published in major international journals and have received major coverage in the media.

Work continued with particular emphasis on the role of dietary protein and different types of dietary fibre.

Clinical trial

This study was registered with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry, ACTR number: ACTRN12607000154404. Some research described here was conducted prior to the mandatory registration of clinical trials.


Mann, J., McAuley, K. (2007). Carbohydrates: is the advice to eat less justified for diabetes and cardiovascular health? Current Opinion in Lipidology, 18(1), 9-12.
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McAuley, K.A., Hopkins, C.M., Smith, K.J., McLay, R.T., Williams, S.M., Taylor, R.W. and Mann, J.I. (2005). Comparison of high-fat and high-protein diets with a high-carbohydrate diet in insulin-resistant obese women. Diabetologia, 48(1), 8-16.
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McAuley, K.A., Smith, K.J., Taylor, R.W., McLay, R.T., Williams, S.M. and Mann, J.I. (2006). Long-term effects of popular dietary approaches on weight loss and features of insulin resistance. International Journal of Obesity Related Metabolic Disorders, 30(2), 342-9.
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