All calories are not alike Low-carb diets burn more calories

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Why do people lose weight, gain it back in a couple of years or less? The answer is partly due to the body’s slow metabolism and its inability to burn calories.

Recent studies by the Boston Children’s Hospital and Framingham State University prove by reducing carbs, dieters will increase the number of calories they burn. In other words, a low-carbohydrate diet will assist in keeping off the weight for longer periods and programs for obesity will be more effective.

The Framingham State Food Study

The Framingham State Food Study is an extended examination used to analyse the Carbohydrate-Insulin Model. Naturally, the largest food study was completed in a controlled environment. The State Food Study supervised the participant’s meals for 20 weeks using a food-service.

During the study, researchers monitored the group’s weight, energy outgo/calories burned, metabolic hormones, and measured insulin secretion. The study confirms it’s time to think outside the box and start using alternative ways of treating obesity.

According to the results of the same study, processed carbs deluded our diets and increased insulin levels. Because of this, the body stores more fat cells and calories than before. Without the proper amount of calories, the body tends to slow metabolism and feel hungry often. What happens next is individuals put back on the weight because they are eating more meals.

Maintaining Weight-loss

Approximately 1,685 people were screened. Of that number, 234 adults ranging from 18-65 years old were overweight and had a BMI of 25 and higher. They enlisted in the weight-loss study for 10 weeks. Only 165 individuals met the goal and lost 10-14% body weight. These individuals proceeded to the maintenance portion of the research.

During which the participants were randomly selected to follow a low-carbohydrate diet or a moderate to high diet for yet another 20 weeks. Carbohydrates comprised of 20%, 40%, and 60% of the overall calories.

The guidelines for all three groups called for select carbohydrates, low sugar intake and whole grains, instead of processed grains. Researchers adjusted the calorie count to maintain the individual’s weight. Consequently, there wasn’t much change in the dieter’s weight.

During the maintenance phase, researchers aimed to get a comparison of the energy outgo of the people of the same weight and to study how the particular groups burned off calories. Energy outgo was measured using doubly labeled water and a gold-standard program.

Over the exam period, energy outgo proved greater on the low-carb diet vs a high-carb diet. Yet, individuals who ate of a low-carbohydrate diet and was of the same body weight of those who ate a high-carbohydrate diet, burned around 250 calories per day more.

Nonetheless, there wasn’t any noticeable drop-off during this span. In fact, the change would amount to losing 20 pounds over a three year period.

The difference in the calorie expenditure between the low-carb and high-carb diets were greater in people with high insulin secretions. In accordance with the Carbohydrate-Insulin Model, it stands at approximately 400 kilocalories per day.

Some participants used the hormone called Ghrelin to reduce calorie intake. The hormone was not as high in the low-carbohydrate diet as the high-carbohydrate diet.

The Takeaway

What does this all mean? Simply that not all calories are the same. Although the study did not take into account fullness or hunger, other studies imply low-carbohydrate diets decrease hunger which does assist in weight-loss.

Citations
Cara B Ebbeling, Henry A Feldman, Gloria L Klein, Julia M W Wong, Lisa Bielak, Sarah K Steltz, Patricia K Luoto, Robert R Wolfe, William W Wong, David S Ludwig. Effects of a low carbohydrate diet on energy expenditure during weight loss maintenance: randomized trial. BMJ, 2018

https://www.bmj.com/content/363/bmj.k4583

http://www.childrenshospital.org/

Adnan Munye

A certified personal trainer and sports nutritionist, Adnan specialises in weight loss, muscle building, body conditioning, core strengthening and injury rehabilitation. Adnan comes from sporting background, where he has played football, badminton, rugby, and swimming all at various levels.

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Last modified: 22nd November 2018