There are many different diets out there. Some are more effective than others. Most diets will fail because it is impossible to stick with the extreme changes that most diets require. As the following study proves, the only eating strategy that works for weight loss is small and consistent changes made slowly over time. That way you will be able to sustain the changes potentially for the rest of your life.
Researchers lead by Cara Ebbeling at Boston Children’s Hospital compared 3 diets in people who had already lost some weight. The researchers focused on which diets helped the people burn the most calories per day. The researchers measured levels of hormones, enzymes, blood fats and insulin levels, and other markers of heart health and diabetes.
The study consisted of 21 obese people who had previously been on a diet in which they had lost 10% to 15% of their body weight. A month afterwards they were randomly rotated through 3 diets.
The first was a low fat diet. There is no research correlating low fat diets and weight loss. This diet consisted of 20% calories from fat, 60% from carbohydrates, 20% protein. This diet focused on eating whole grain foods, fruits and vegetables, and reduced intake of fatty meats, oils, nuts.
The second was the low carbohydrate(carb) diet. This diet was based on the popular Atkin’s diet. This diet consisted of 10% calories from carbs, 30% calories were from protein, 60% calories from fat. This diet focused on eating cheese, chicken, beef, fish, certain fruits and vegetables. It decreased the intake of breads, rice, potatoes, starchy vegetables and other carbohydrates.
The last was the low glycemic diet, based on the Mediterranean diet. This diet consisted of 40% of calories coming from carbohydrates, 40% from fat, 20% protein. This diet emphasizes whole grains, low fat meats, fruits and vegetables and beans and nuts. It avoids highly processed foods and snack foods.
Those on the low carb diet burned the most calories. They burned 325 more than the low fat dieters per day. But they also saw the increase in cortisol, other markers of inflammation and risk factors of heart disease.
Those on the low glycemic diet burned 150 calories more per day than the low fat dieters.
The low fat dieters burned the least amount of calories per day. Their triglycerides were increased and their LDLs or good cholesterol was decreased.
Dr. David Ludwig, study author and director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center in Boston Children’s Hospital said, ”For weight loss and heart disease prevention, avoid diets that severely restrict any major nutrient, either fat or carbohydrate.” He went on to say, “Instead focus on reducing the highly processed carbohydrates that cause surges and crashes in blood sugar like white bread, white rice, prepared breakfast cereals, low fat snack foods, and concentrated sugars.”
These surges and crashes that are caused by the processed carbs and sugars can drastically affect your body. When you have a blood sugar surge and then drop, your energy levels will drop as well. This will leave you tired and you will seek out more sugary foods that will give you another surge in your blood sugar so that you can feel awake again. A side effect of this is that when your blood sugar drops, your energy levels drop, and your metabolism slows down. All of this up and down with your blood sugar makes you more susceptible to putting on weight over time. It becomes a negative feedback cycle that you can’t get out of.
The low carb diet was good for losing weight, but it negatively affected the dieter’s health. This diet increased systemic inflammation and risk factors for heart disease. In my opinion, it defeats the purpose of dieting if the diet itself negatively affects your health. Primarily you want to feel good. If you reduce what you eat, and eat healthy, you will feel better and lose weight at the same time. If you diet and exercise, you will lose weight and look better. It is not necessary to do these extreme fad diets to lose weight, and most of the time, these fad diets do not work. They can help you initially lose some weight, but you will not be able to keep it off. If you focus on small, sustainable changes to your diet and exercise routine you will see a difference in your body that will last.
Don’t give in to those fad diets. They are preying on the desperation people have to lose weight. They are banking on you not researching whether their diet plan works. They are banking on you going for any diet out there, because unless you have training in the field, most people don’t know how to go about losing weight. I set up my Pain Free Lifestyle program to be easy to follow and easy to incorporate into your lifestyle. It is a common sense approach and will work but you have to be willing to do some work as well.