New Study: Low-Carb Diets Help You Lose Weight and Keep It Off
Low-carb diets tend to be in the center of attention lately in the news whether it’s the keto diet or its validity as a lifestyle. Now a new study has emerged detailing that low-carb dieting helps in losing weight and keeping it off. Drastically changing the conversation, this study was featured on the Today show with Dr. Oz, an article in the Times, and Vox.
Let us explain the study (published in The BMJ).
The researchers put 232 participants into a 10-week weight-loss diet plan at first to try to lose 12 percent of their body weight. Losing weight is easy in any diet plan but what the researchers wanted to study was the ability to keep the weight off after a diet a plan.
Out of the 234 original participants, 164 achieved the target weight loss. They were able to move on to the next phase of the trial. The remaining 164 participants were randomly assigned a low carb diet (20 percent), moderate carb diet (40 percent) and high carb diet (60 percent) for 20 weeks. The diets were carefully curated to make sure the participants were maintaining their new body weight.
At the end of the study, the following participants remained 38 low-carb, 39 moderate-carb, and 43 high-carb. From these remaining 120 people the researchers were able to derive that low-carb diets are helpful in keeping off weight.
Let’s take a moment to call out an important hypothesis currently going around the health community which is called “carbohydrate-insulin hypothesis”. This refers to the theory of Harvard Professor David Ludwig (one of the researches in the study) and other professionals which they have heavily promoted. It asserts that diets heavy in refined grains and sugar carbohydrates lead to weight gain because of the insulin release in the body. This then causes a domino effect in the body to hold on to fat and suppress calorie burn.
If we follow the hypothesis, we can conclude that to lose weight and keep it off, one would have to specifically reduce processed carbohydrates and replace them with calories derived from fat. This helps drive insulin levels down, which then help burn calories and keep the fat at bay (which is why many low-carb products emphasize low Glycemic Index and no glycemic spikes).
The results? At the end of the 20-week period, the researches say that the group that ate fewer carbohydrates were burning more calories and subsequently keeping the weight off. What the study ended up unveiling was that those on a low-carb diet burned 200 extra calories, the moderate-carb intake burned an extra 100 calories and those in a high-carb diet burned no extra calories.
What Does this Mean?
This study is a major stepping stone into research on low-carb diets because it’s a long-term diet study. The researchers were able to meticulously follow their participant’s diet and see how their body was reaction throughout the 20 weeks.
Low-carb diets DO help and allow people to live a healthier lifestyle. As we have seen the grocery aisle get filled with more and more processed carbohydrates and refined sugars, we have seen many healthy problems exponentially rise. The conclusion follows the carbohydrate-insulin hypothesis which emphasizes fat isn’t the problem but processed carbohydrates and sugars in our foods. Fat ends up being positive since it allows us to be fuller for a longer period of times and causes no glycemic spikes.
Learning to read labels on our foods is the first step in holding oneself accountable for what we eat. Changing low-carb doesn’t have to be done overnight. It can be a process wherein you change your favorites for their low-carb alternatives such as low-carb bread or low-carb granola. It’s all about making small changes that eventually lead to a total lifestyle change.
At Sola, we believe in the low-carb lifestyle and meal plan. We also believe that the future of the food industry should be reducing the amount of sugar that is being put into our food and that reducing your carb intake is one of the solutions to reaching your health goals.
We would like to add that every body is different and you should speak to your doctor before making any drastic changes to your diet.