Two major studies last year presented some insight into the role carbohydrates play in making us fat. These studies gave researchers some clues like other nutrition studies. But unfortunately, they can’t say which diet, if any, is best for everyone to lose weight.
If you are trying to lose weight, you are sure to find an aggressive debate among friends and family about how best to do it. It appears like every person has an opinion, and new trends emerge every year.
That’s not going to satisfy people who want yes-and-no answers. But nutrition study is very difficult and even the most appreciated studies come with big cautions.
People are very different. So, that it’s impossible to conduct researches which show what really works over long periods of time.
Fewer carbohydrates, fewer pounds?
A low carbohydrate food is all about eating right, not less! As limiting processed carbohydrates aids your body gradually burn fat for fuel, leading to higher levels of energy and long-term weight loss.
It’s no longer termed the Atkins Diet, but the low-carbohydrate school of dieting has been enjoying a comeback. The idea is that the foods containing refined carbs like white bread are converted into sugar quickly in our bodies. Thus, leading to energy swings and causing hunger.
The claim is that weight loss will be easier by cutting carbohydrates. This is because your body will in its place burn fat for fuel while feeling less hungry. A new study appears to propose more support for low-carb proponents.
But, like many other studies, it tried to understand just one aspect of how the body works.
The research looked at whether changing carbohydrate levels might affect how your body uses energy. Among 164 participants, it found those on low-carbohydrate diets burned more calories as compared to those on high-carb diets.
The study did not say people shed more weight on a low-carb diet. And didn’t try to measure that. Snacks and meals were controlled tightly and continually adjusted so everybody’s weights remained stable.
David Ludwig was the lead author of the paper and researcher at Boston Children’s Hospital. Researchers of this study found that limiting carbs could make it easier for people to keep weight off once they have lost it. Also, the approach might work great for individuals with diabetes or pre-diabetes.
Researchers noted the study was not proposed to test long-term health effects or scenarios where people make their food. The discoveries also require to be validated to be replicated.
These findings are interesting for the scientific community. But they should not be taken as advice for an average individual looking to lose weight.
Do I avoid fat to be skinny?
For several years people were advised to limit fats, found in foods including nuts, eggs, meat, butter, and oil. Cutting fat was a way to control weight since a gram of fat has double calories than the same amount of protein or carbs.
Many people say the advice had the opposite effect by involuntarily giving us license to eat up fat-free cookies, cakes, and other foods. These were instead full of the refined carbs and sugars now liable for our wider waists.
Nutrition specialists gradually moved away from complete recommendations to limit fats for weight loss. Fats are essential for absorbing important nutrients. Also, fats can help us feel full. That doesn’t mean you must live on steak showered in butter to be fit.
Researchers said that the lessons of the anti-fat fad should be applied to the anti-carb fad: don’t overgeneralize advice. And, there’s a constant look for an easy way out.
So which is better?
This past year, another significant study found that low-fat diets and low-carb diets were around equally operative for weight loss. Outcomes varied by individual, but after a year, individuals in both groups shed an average of 12 to 13 pounds.
The researchers of the study noted the results don’t deny low-carb study. Instead, they advise there may be flexibility in the ways we can lose weight.
In both groups, participants were advised to concentrate on slightly processed foods. For instance, produce and meat prepared at home. Everyone was guided to limit refined flour and added sugar.
Limiting processed diets could improve most foods by cutting down overall calories, while still leaving wiggle room for the preferences of people. That is important. Because for an effective diet, a person has to be able to stick to it. A breakfast of oatmeal and fruit may be filling for one person. But leave another hungry soon after.
Researchers note that the study had its limitations, too. As the diets of participants weren’t controlled. Individuals were instead trained on how to attain eating a low-carb or low-fat in regular assemblies with dietitians. This may have provided a support system most dieters don’t have.
Temporarily you can perhaps lose weight by eating only raw or fresh foods or going vegan or following another diet plan. Fish, meat, and poultry are major contributors of iron, zinc, and B vitamins. And vegetarians should pay attention to these nutrients.
Vegetarians eat only food of plant origin. As animal products are the sources of vitamin B12 and vegans must supplement their intakes with this vitamin. But what will actually work for you over the long term is a different question.
Zhaoping Li is the director of clinical nutrition division at the University of California, Los Angeles. According to the researchers, there is no single set of strategies which help every person lose weight and keep it off.
That is why diets often fail. As they don’t factor into account the many factors which drive us to eat what we do.
To help people lose weight, Li examines her patients’ physical activity routines and eating. Physical activity is an imperative way to use up the food energy. He tries to identify improvements people will be able to live with.