Is the Low-Carb Diet the Best for Maintaining Healthy Weight?

Every few months or so it seems we get new guidance on what the best diet might be.  Of course, the results tend to suggest that while most of us could stand to lose a few extra pounds by eating a little healthier and getting a little more exercise, the guidelines can vary between people.  A new study has emerged, however, to suggest that the best way anyone can maintain sustained weight loss might be to simply change your diet to one that features low carbohydrate options.

Published on Wednesday in the journal BMJ, the study involved 164 people categorized as either overweight or obese.  Each person was brought down by 12 percent and then stabilized at this weight.  Once they were stabilized, each person was put into one of three diet groups for the next 20 weeks.

The three groups focused on carbohydrates but were as follows:

  • 20% carbs, 60% fat, 20% protein
  • 40% carbs, 40% fat, 20% protein
  • 60% carbs, 20% fat, 20% protein

According to lead study investigator, type of diet has a big impact on metabolism.  Those who had the lowest amount of carbohydrates in their diet burned roughly 250 calories per day more than those who were on the highest carbohydrate diet. It is important to note that the groups were all of the same weight and their calorie intake was heavily controlled (probably to help ensure effective maintenance of this baseline weight).

Also co-director of the Boston Children’s Hospital New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center and a professor of pediatrics and nutrition at Harvard University, Dr. Ludwig remarks that it was important to adjust caloric intake to reflect metabolism. If, for example, metabolism speeded up, patients would start losing weight, and that would mean they would need to increase calories in order to maintain the baseline weight target.

What is, perhaps, most interesting about this is that the study does not actually change anything about what we already know. If anything, though, it gives us a closer look at how caloric intake—and, more important, the type of calories—can impact weight loss, gain, or control.

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