Low-Carb, Low-GI, or Low-Fat? What’s the Best Diet for Weight Loss? | NUTRITION

Low-Carb, Low-GI, or Low-Fat? What’s the Best Diet for Weight Loss? | NUTRITION

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According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, if you follow a Mediterranean-style diet, you may have the best chance of keeping extra weight off without experiencing any negative side effects.
 
Cara Ebbeling, a Research Faculty Council member and Associate Director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at the Boston Children’s Hospital, led a research that studied how 3 different diets – low GI, low fat, and low carb – affect people even after they had already lost weight.
 
The scientists sought to study the impact of these diets on energy expenditure knowing that people who diet often struggle to maintain their healthy weight. They would like to know which diet helps people burn the most calories a day by looking at how much energy they spend. This would therefore, help keep dieters from regaining lost weight.


 
Details of the Study
 
The scientists measured study participants’ levels of insulin sensitivity, hormones, blood fats, enzymes, and other markers of diabetes risk and heart health. The study included 21 adults, aged 18 to 40, who were overweight and obese.
 
At first, the participants followed a three-month diet plan containing:

– 45% of total calories from carbohydrates
– 30% of total calories from fat
– 25% of total calories from protein

A month later, participants lost 10% to 15% of their body weight. They were then, randomly rotated through the other test diets. One diet was assigned for each month.


 
Comparing Diets

  • A. Low-GI (glycemic index) diet
Similar to the Mediterranean diet, the low-GI diet required 40% of total calories from carbs, 40% from fat and 20% from protein. Foods such as low-fat meats like fish, whole grains like oatmeal and brown rice, beans, fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats from nuts and olive oil were part of the diet. Foods such as highly processed, sugary carbs and snack foods were avoided. 
  • B. Low-carb diet
Following the Atkins diet model, the low-carb diet required 10% of total calories from carbs, 30% from protein and 60% from fat. Consumption of foods such as beef, fish, chicken, eggs, cheese and some fruits and veggies were increased, while intake of carbohydrates, including bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, baked goods and starchy vegetables, were minimized. 
  • C. Low-fat diet
The low-fat diet required 20% of total calories from fat, 60% from carbohydrates and 20% from protein. Foods such as whole-grains, fruits, and vegetables were emphasized in the diet, while fatty meats, oils, nuts, and other high-fat products were greatly reduced.


 
The Results of the 3 Diets
 
Compared to the low fat group, participants on the low-GI diet burned about 150 calories more each day. This is after about an hour of moderate exercise, but without the harmful heart effects. Meanwhile, participants on the low-fat diet burned the fewest calories per day. They also showed lower levels of good cholesterol and higher levels of bad cholesterol.
 
It was the low-carb dieters who burned the most calories at an average of 325+ calories per day compared with the low-fat group. However, there was a side effect. Participants on the low-carb diet saw an increase in levels of their stress hormones CRP (C reactive protein) and cortisol. When these hormones are increased, it may mean a person experiences inflammation and is at a risk of heart disease.
 
Researchers’ Take on the Results
 
Dr. David Ludwig, study author and director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s Hospital, told Bloomberg News: 

“For weight loss and heart disease prevention, avoid diets that severely restrict any major nutrient, either fat or carbohydrate. Instead focus on reducing the highly processed carbohydrates that cause surges and crashes in blood sugar like white bread, white rice, prepared breakfast cereals, those low-fat snack foods and concentrated sugars.”

 
Those crashes and surges may increase appetite and hunger by triggering the brain to seek out calories. The brain is forced to sense that the body is losing calories, so it has to make up for that loss. The body also slows down metabolism to conserve energy. Unfortunately, this could lead people to regain lost weight.
 
According to Ludwig, the study suggests that a calorie isn’t just a calorie. Further, 

“It says that from a metabolic perspective all calories are not alike. The quality of the calories going in affects the number of calories going out.”

 
A good “middle ground” is the the low-GI diet. It focuses on including a wide variety of foods with high-quality nutrients and doesn’t drastically reduce any major nutrient – all these to maintain lost weight.
 


Get Help from a Qualified Nutritionist
 
Personalized diet plans are available everywhere. You can even download one from the Internet! The problem with many diet plans readily available is that they come from “diet coaches” and "experts" with no real health or nutrition qualifications. As with any major lifestyle or diet change, you should consult a qualified individual before starting a weight-loss program or drastically changing your diet.

And, it’s a bit tricky to just follow your guts when it comes to losing and maintaining your weight using any of the diets we mentioned in this article. Your best bet is to seek the help of a professional nutritionist who can help you better understand healthy eating.

At Aussie Supps Nutrition Hub, we have an in-house qualified nutritionist that can provide you with a healthy diet plan that's personalized to your body and goals. We use the principle of calories for all our meal plans, with some clients tracking, but most clients using simple serving sizes instead! Meaning you get to pick and choose foods you like and enjoy, but without having to track it all every day!
 
Remember, if your goal is to lose weight, your health matters more than a number on a scale. It's always important to maintain a holistic approach to weight loss. It should also include physical activity, stress management, quality sleep, and other important factors, such as hormones and medical issues.
 
For bookings and more info, check out our Contact Us page, chat with us on Facebook, or email us at info@aussiesuppsnutritionhub.com.
 
 

References:
1. Effects of Dietary Composition on Energy Expenditure During Weight-Loss Maintenance
https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/1199154
2. Right diet, not just reduced calories, could help maintain weight loss, study finds
https://www.boston.com/uncategorized/noprimarytagmatch/2012/06/26/right-diet-not-just-reduced-calories-could-help-maintain-weight-loss-study-finds
3. Low-carb diet burns the most calories in small study
https://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/health/story/2012-06-27/calories-low-carb-weight-loss/55843134/1

 

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