A recent study sponsored by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) shows that low-carb diets are not more effective in trimming down those extra pounds than low-fat restriction as previous studies had suggested.
Previous research had shown that low-carb diet helped people easier lose weight because it affected insulin, a hormone that regulates how much of the glucose turns into energy and how much of it is stored in body fat. So, keeping an ideal level of insulin into your blood stream through a low-carb diet would boost metabolism so that fats are burned faster, other studies had shown.
But Dr. Kevin Hall of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases said that he and his team planned to see if the theory was correct. For this purpose, they asked 19 clinically obese patients to take part in the study. Yet, those participants weren’t allowed to go home during the research. They stayed at the NIH clinical center where they and the things they ate were heavily monitored.
Dr. Hall said that no other nutrition study actually locked up its volunteers and kept a close watch on what they ate. That’s why low-carb diet’s effectiveness may be overstated, researchers believe.
The latest study lasted a couple of weeks. During that time, volunteers lived at the center and ate only what the center provided them with. Yet, pretty much of the food they ate for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks was virtually the same.
Each participant was asked to test two different types of diets during the trial. One diet involved cutting down by 30 percent calories from fats, while the other diet required cutting down calorie intake from carbohydrates leaving fat intake unchanged.
Dr. Hall noted that no other study tested both diets within the same group of volunteers. And with help from special instruments the team was able to closely monitor the changes each diet brought to their patients’ bodies.
In the end, both diets led to weight loss, but the low-fat helped people burn more body fat and at a higher rate than low-carb diet. Researchers explained that low-carb also helps people lose weight because reducing carbohydrates increases water loss. So, all those lost pounds may only be excess water going down the drain.
Nevertheless, the recent research confirmed that a low-carb diet keeps insulin to a minimum and boosts the rate at which the body burns its fat deposits. But low fat diet also helped with fat loss while having absolutely no effect on insulin levels.
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