It seems as if everyone is asking is a low carb diet best for losing weight and keeping it off? This diet plan has become highly controversial, thanks to the spotlight given to it by several famous celebrities and other health experts who swear by its effectiveness. Not only does it help people to lose weight but it has also helped to boost their energy and improve their overall health and wellness.
Yet, despite its popularity, there are still some people who don’t believe in the diet. For them, low carb diets are not the answer to losing weight. In fact, they believe that the diet is actually bad for you.
In the midst of all these controversies, a recent study published by the medical journal BMJ has shown that cutting your consumption of carbs can actually help people to lose weight while feeling comfortable in doing it. As a result, followers of the diet are able to easily keep their weight off, unlike the other people who follow a different type of diet.
Understanding the Low-Carb Diet
Low carb diet refers to the type of diet that restricts the consumption of carbohydrates, especially those that are found in pasta, bread, and many sugary foods. Instead, the diet focuses on eating fats, proteins, and healthy vegetables. The Mayo Clinic describes the low carb diet as,
A low-carb diet limits carbohydrates — such as those found in grains, starchy vegetables and fruit — and emphasizes foods high in protein and fat.
There are several different types of low carb diets, although the most popular of these is the ketogenic diet. Aside from helping one to lose weight, these diets are aimed at improving one’s health. As low-carb diets become increasingly popular, it has also become a favorite subject of debate among dietitians and health experts who cannot seem to agree whether the diet is truly effective for weight loss or if it’s detrimental to health.
Although a lot of scientists would agree that there are several factors why the diet really works, some naysayers would argue that this type of eating plan is a mere hype, and just like with the other fad diets, it’s not going to work for the long-term.
The Low-Carb Study Explained
The recent study was done by a group of researchers from the Boston Children’s Hospital. It is said to be the “most rigorous” studies on diet ever made. During the study, the researchers assessed 164 obese and overweight individuals. They found that those who are following the low carb, high-fat diet like the ketogenic diet, had improved their metabolism unlike those that follow the high carb, low-fat diet. As a matter of fact, those in the low carb group burned 250 more calories each day after five months compared to those who followed the high carb diet.
Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, the dean of Friedman School of Nutrition Science at Tufts University, told The New York Times,
This study confirms that, remarkably, diets higher in starch and sugar change the body’s burn rate after weight loss, lowering metabolism.
The metabolic difference that was observed during the study was substantial and that should be enough to explain the “yo-yo” effect that most people tend to experience when trying to lose weight.
Keeping the Weight Off
The study, which is said to have cost $12 million to be completed, has also looked at whether maintaining the weight loss is much easier on a low carb diet compared to the high carb or moderate carb diet. For 20 weeks, they observed the participants of the study to find out who among the group could keep the weight off much longer. They found that those who followed the low carb diet were able to keep the weight off longer than those in the moderate carb and high carb diets.
This has led the team to conclude that the low-carb diet is indeed effective when it comes to weight-loss maintenance. During the 20-week period, the effects were been quite remarkable. They found that the participants who ate fewer carbs burned more calories and were able to successfully maintain their weight unlike those in the high carb diet.
Dr. Oz, during the Today Show last Thursday morning, was quoted as saying,
“lose weight, not feel discomfort while doing it.”
The morning show highlighted this new study and the researchers concluded that those who followed the low carb diet may have an edge at maintaining their weight after they have slimmed down. They believe that the study could lead to the development of a much better treatment for obesity in the future.
Will The Results Be The Same For All People?
Christopher Gardner, a Stanford researcher who is not involved in this study, has said that it was indeed an elegant study and the results are definitely worth paying attention to. According to him,
It shows how in the long run a low-carb diet can promote or inhibit the maintenance of that weight loss.
However, he also noted that the findings may not really apply to all people. Just like with other studies conducted on other weight loss diets, the researchers don’t really feed the participants with every calorie on this study. They just basically ask these participants to stick to the low carb diet.
Either way, a diet that’s lower in sugar and refined grain is healthier and you can never go wrong with following a diet that restricts nutrient-poor carbohydrates.
Every day, there seems to be a new study that claims to be a revolutionary discovery on weight loss and this particular study is among the largest and the most expensive study to have ever been conducted on low carb diets to date.
However you should understand that not everyone is the same. What may work for others, may not work for you. There’s nothing wrong with following the low carb diet but you may need to experiment with the amount of carbs you eat in order to lose body fat. Some need a lower carb intake than others for it to be effective. Don’t forget you have to replace those carbohydrates with real, nutritious foods such as healthy fat, plenty of low carb vegetables and grass fed meat..
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Stir Fry image by Rusty Clark