A new study calls into question the effectiveness of strict low-carb diets, offering an alternative that seems to help people lose more weight with less hassle.
The body of research surrounding all of the different available diet regimens can be confusing and contradictory, and it can be hard to choose a diet that works for you. According to a report from the BBC, however, a new study suggests that a diet low in heavy fats has become the front runner when choosing for a new course of action.
Both low-fat and low-carb diets were scrutinized by officials from the National Institutes of Health, who said the most effective diet overall is the one that people can follow with regularity.
Still, the theory behind why cutting fat over carbs is better for you is interesting. Fewer carbohydrates lead to lower insulin levels, which results in fat being released from the body’s reserves. Fewer fats pushes this process even further, and was shown to reduce overall weight gain in the study participants who followed a low-fat diet.
“All of those things do happen with carb reduction and you do lose body fat, but not as much as when you cut out the fat,” said lead researcher Dr. Kevin Hall of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases in the US.
19 obese people in the study were fed 2,700 calories each day. Over a period of two weeks, they tried diets which reduced their calorie intake by 33 percent, either by cutting out carbohydrates or fats.
There are a number of reasons a low-carb diet can fail compared to a low-fat diet. Stress affects the body in different ways, and elevated levels of cortisol can prevent the body from shedding excess weight. People often have trouble replacing carb-heavy options with healthy foods, and wind up becoming malnourished instead of losing just the bad weight.
The study’s results, released this week in the journal Cell Metabolism, showed that low-fat diets resulted in 80 percent greater weight loss than low-carb diets among the people in the sample. The debate continues, but the latest body of research suggests that there are much better options than a strict low-carb diet.