Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Low Carb Diet Comes Back Around Yet Again

A new study has caused the infamous low carb diet to come back around in the press yet again despite mountains of scientific evidence that in the long term, calories in vs. calories out–not carbs or fat–is what matter most in weight loss. The study was recently published in the Annals of Internal Medicine and it included 148 men and women. Half of the participants ate a low-fat diet while the other half ate a low carb diet, cutting out breads, pastas, potatoes, high sugar fruits, baked goods and other carb-laden foods.
At the end of the study, the low carb group lost eight pounds more than the low fat group, leading press headlines to once again shout the benefits of a low carb diet from the rooftops. Low carb dieting began as far back as the 1800s, but it became incredibly popular in the 1970s, when Dr. Atkins was at the height of his career. His eating plan became so entrenched in the American mindset that it became known as “the Atkins Diet,” or as some people enjoyed calling it, “the Atkins.”
Atkins’ philosophy was that by cutting out carbs, a person’s body would be pushed into what is called ketosis. That is when the body is forced to burn fat as fuel, but it is also a condition suffered by diabetic people as well as those with kidney disorders. Few doctors think that ketosis is a healthy state in which to be, and it is hard on the kidneys and other organs. The Atkins diet starts people out on a phase called “induction” in which they eat almost no carbs, then moves them into the weight loss phase, where they can eat limited carbs in the form of vegetables. Maintenance allows some fruit and alcohol as well.
It is true that people lose weight on the Atkins diet or most any low-carb eating plan, but some experts say that the weight loss is due mostly to the drastic calorie reduction that occurs when carb-rich foods are cut from a person’s daily intake. Indeed, as USA Today reports, larger studies have shown no significant difference in weight loss between low fat and low carb diets.
Perhaps the most research has been done on the effect of calorie restriction as it pertains to weight loss. What the body of research over time shows is that calories are the main factor in determining weight loss. When someone burns more calories than they ingest, they will lose weight barring any underlying medical condition. This has been proven again and again in numerous meta-analyses over at least 50 years.
Nearly all diets rely on one basic factor for success: calorie restriction. Whether that restriction occurs due to cutting out food groups, counting points, measuring portions, eliminating sweets, adding exercise or replacing meals with shakes and bars, all the diets have one thing in common and that is a net reduction of calories.
Low carb diets have come back around yet again, but like the current gluten-free hysteria, low carb is a trend; a fad that keeps waxing and waning over time. To lose weight for the majority of healthy people, calories must be reduced somehow, and no amount of marketing for any specific diet will change this proven fact.

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