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One of the most contentious questions in the dieting world: How many carbs do we really need in order to lose weight?
One side is filled with respected researchers, journalists, and devotees to Keto, Atkins and Zone diet devotees who claim that if we cut cookies, pasta, and bagels, our weight woes will be over.
But on the other sides there are equally as reputable researchers and nutritionists who don’t buy into these low-carb claims. Instead they argue that other studies out there reveal low-carb diets don’t make any difference in terms of keeping weight off.
All in all it’s a rich and lively debate, with other individuals jumping in with their thoughts. One of them was Dr. Oz, who highlighted a new study on the Today show (today.com) that showed that cutting carbs will actually help people drop weight, sustain it, and not feel discomfortable.
This study was led by researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital which appears in the Journal BMJ (bmj.com) and is one of the most rigorous diet studies that’s been done to this point. While it doesn’t show exactly what Dr. Oz was suggesting, it still is an important bit of evidence for this debate. Furthermore this study goes to show just how difficult it can be to prove anything in terms of nutrition.
Digging into studies, one of the most extensive ones was what birthed the carbohdrate-insulin hypothesis. It was a study that cost $12 million to complete. The researchers looked into maintaining weight loss over 20 weeks with three types of diets: low-carb, moderate-carb, and high-carb diets. But the real question and what they were really testing is whether the type of calories that we eat matters?
Some diets and nutrition researchers argue that the amounts matter and if we cut down on calories, we’ll drop the pounds. Others however believe that quality of the calories matters. This adds another layer to the debate.
But what this new study brings further points that low carbs actually works. The study comprised of 234 people who had researchers try to lose 12 percent body weight over nine to 10 weeks. Of the participants, 164 achieved that target and were ready for the second trial. That second trial being what the previous study did – assigning participants either a high-carb, moderate-carb, or low-carb diet. They were instructed to follow it for 20 weeks.
And by that point the effects were quite remarkable. The fewer carbs the people were eating, the more calories they burned. Furthermore those on low-carb diets found it easier to keep their weight off. From the study, those on the low-carb-diet (20 percent) burned over 200 extra calories each per day while moderate-carb (40 percent) managed to burn 100 calories with high-carb (60 percent) had no changes, maintaining their weight.
But the real question about all of this is is this applicable to other people? According to some researchers, they believe that all of this research may not be applicable to most people. In most diet studies in which people aren’t fed every calorie from researchers, the low-carb diet performs about the same as most other diets in terms of weight loss. This isn’t a knock on the study though, but more on the fact that researchers aren’t sure of how to get people to stick to diets long term, unless they’re feeding them. So take this as you will on your own weight loss journey.