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Health Institute Study: Cut Carbs, Burn More Calories

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According to a new study funded by the National Institute of Health, eating a diet low in carbohydrates helps the body burn calories faster.

Scientists on the study took 21 participants classified as obese, challenged them to lose between 10% and 20% of their body weight, then, after the weight was lost, put them one of three different diets to see how well they could maintain their current weight.

USA Today Listed the three different diets as follows:

•A low-fat diet which was about 20% of calories from fat and emphasized whole-grain products and fruits and vegetables.

•A low-glycemic index diet, similar to a Mediterranean diet, made up of vegetables, fruit, beans, healthy fats (olive oil, nuts) and mostly healthy grains (old-fashioned oats, brown rice). These foods digest more slowly, helping to keep blood sugar and hormones stable after the meal.

•A low-carb diet, similar to the Atkins diet, with only 10% of calories from carbohydrates. It emphasized fish, chicken, beef, eggs, cheese, some vegetables and fruits while eliminating foods such as breads, pasta, potatoes and starchy vegetables.

Participants burned about 300 calories more a day on a low-carb diet than they did on a low-fat diet, and they burned 150 more calories on the low-glycemic index diet than the low-fat diet.

So, participants were getting better results, not by exercising more, but by choosing foods low in carbohydrates. David Ludwig, lead author on the study believes the extra calorie burn from the low carb diet is due to a more stable blood sugar level and hormone secretion, consistent with low carb diet.

The downside of a low carb diet is the increased risk of heart disease that comes with consuming fattier meals. However, the decreased metabolic activity combined with increased insulin resistance, makes the low-fat diet less than desirable as well. It’s a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation.

The findings are only preliminary, but what we always find in nutrition, despite trendy studies or shocking finding, balance is almost always the conclusion. If you load up on carbs for breakfast, it’s a good idea to take it easy on carbs for the rest of your meals that day.

Of course, all these dietary factors are effected by your lifestyle too. If you don’t move around very much, you wont burn that many calories, if you’re always on the run, you need more calories to produce the energy you need. Either way, balance is usually the answer.

(Lead image Courtesy of Richardsimmonsdvds.com)

Health Institute Study: Cut Carbs, Burn More Calories


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  • Kano’s Bionic Eye

    Fuck that. All answers lie within portion control and moderate exercise.

  • nikki

    please do your research more thoroughly before making the statement that low carb diets increase risk of heart disease. As to date nearly all studies into the subject have been flawed, in fact their is evidence of the exact opposite. Low carb diets are perfect for those that need to regulate their blood sugar levels.

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