Is a Low-Carb Diet So Much Better For Weight Loss? A New Review Brings The Evidence

In the 1970s, low-carb diets were all the rage. the by Dr. Atkin dietary revolution book claimed that carbohydrate restriction was a “High calorie way to stay slim forever.“.

Carbohydrates are found in breads, cereals, and other grains, fruits, vegetables, and milk. they are also in ultraprocessed fast foods, cakes, chips and soft drinks.

These days, low-carb diets are touted as a solution to weight loss, beat heart disease, and better for diabetes. But how do these claims match up with the latest research?

a new evidence review found that long-term low-carb dieters lost just under a kilo (about 2 pounds) more weight than other dieters. However, the review concluded that there was no evidence that low-carbohydrate diets have additional health benefits.

In fact, if you’re on a low-carb diet, you’ll need to pay more attention to what you eat to make sure you’re getting enough essential foods. vitaminsminerals, dietary fiber and other phytonutrients.

What did the reviewers investigate?

The Cochrane revision included 61 randomized controlled trials (highest level of evidence) involving nearly 7,000 adults with excess body weight. About 1,800 had type 2 diabetes. people in the healthy weight range were not included.

The reviewers compared weight loss diets that varied in carbohydrate content:

  1. low carbohydrate diets. This included very low-carbohydrate or ketogenic diets (less than 50 g of carbohydrates per day, or less than 10 percent of your total energy from carbohydrates) and low-carbohydrate diets (50 to 150 g of carbohydrates per day, or less than 45 percent of total energy from carbohydrates)

  2. “balanced” carbohydrate diets (more than 150 grams of carbohydrate per day, or 45 to 65 percent of your total energy from carbohydrates).

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Above: Here is an example comparing what a very low carb, low carb and balanced carb one day meal plan might look like. Serving sizes differ between meals to keep total kilojoules about the same. Note that the reviewers grouped the first two categories of low-carb diets together.

What did you find?

The reviewers found that among adults with excess body weight (but who did not have type 2 diabetes), those who followed low-carbohydrate diets for 3 to 8.5 months lost, on average, one kilogram more weight than those who followed balanced carbohydrate diets.

However, when they made sure that the restrictions on energy intake were the same in both groups, when providing the food or the meal plans, the difference was half a kilogram.

In longer-term weight loss interventions lasting one or two years, the average difference in weight loss between those who followed a low-carb diet and those who followed a balanced-carb diet was just under a kilogram.

The average weight lost by the groups on any weight-loss diet varied widely between trials, from less than a kilogram in some to around 13 kg (28 pounds) in others.

Studies in adults with type 2 diabetes found greater initial weight loss on low-carbohydrate diets compared to balanced-carbohydrate diets: 1.3 kg over three to six months. However, in longer interventions lasting between one and two years, there was no difference.

In the small group of studies that included a maintenance period at the end of the weight loss intervention, there was no difference in weight loss in adults with or without type 2 diabetes.

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There were no significant differences in other health measures, such as blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar control, or risk of constipation. And they found no clinically important differences in outcomes based on participants’ degree of carbohydrate restriction.

Overall, the review shows that whether you prefer a low-carb or balanced eating pattern, both can work for weight loss.

Nutrients to Monitor on a Low Carb Diet

Carbohydrates are a macronutrient. Your body uses it to make energy to fuel your muscles, brain, lungs, and other vital processes.

Healthy carbohydrate foods (breads, cereals and other grains, fruits, vegetables, and milk) contain other important nutrients, especially dietary fiber, thiamin, calcium, and folic acid.

Without careful planning, a low-carb diet could also be lower in these nutrients. So how can you make sure you’re getting enough? Here’s what to look out for, and some low and high carb options.

Dietary fiber It is necessary to maintain regular bowel function and promote the growth of healthy bacteria in the colon.

Low carbohydrate sources: spinach, fresh and frozen mixed berries, almonds, cauliflower

Higher carbohydrate sources: wholemeal bread, apples, chickpeas, sweet potato.

thiamin o Vitamin B1 is needed to supply energy to your body’s tissues and is used to metabolize carbohydrates.

Low carbohydrate sources: trout, tuna, sunflower seeds, beef, yeast extracts

Higher carbohydrate sources: brown rice, black beans, whole wheat bread, yogurt.

Calcium it is necessary for strong bones.

Lower Cabin Supplies: hard cheese, canned salmon with small bones, almonds, firm tofu

Higher carbohydrate sources: yogurt, milk, soft cheese.

folate it is essential for growth and is used to make DNA, your genetic code. Adequate intakes are especially important for womenas folate is needed to prevent neural tube defects in babies during pregnancy.

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Low carbohydrate sources: green leafy vegetables, avocado, broccoli, peanuts

Higher carbohydrate sources: whole wheat bread (Australian bread flour is fortified with folic acid), fortified whole grain cereals, brown rice, oranges.

Ultimately, if you love carbs and want to lose weight, you can. Plan to reduce your calorie and carbohydrate intake by not eating ultra-processed, energy-dense, nutrient-poor (junk) foods, while still eating low-calorie carbohydrates. healthy food.

Clare CollinsLaureate Professor in Nutrition and Dietetics, University of Newcastle; Erin Clarkepostdoctoral researcher, University of Newcastleand rebeca williamspostdoctoral researcher, University of Newcastle.

This article is republished from The conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the Original article.

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