Step away from the mashed potatoes. So long stuffing. Here comes bracing new research about carbohydrates just as we approach holiday feast season.
Flying in the face of conventional wisdom that you have to cut calories to lose weight, a large new study recently published in the British Medical Journal shows that overweight adults who cut carbohydrates from their diets and then replaced them with fat sharply increased their metabolisms. After only five months on the low-carb diet, their bodies burned off 250 calories more per day than those who ate a high-carb, low-fat diet, which suggests that cutting carbs may help people maintain their weight loss more easily. The low-carb group also had significantly lower levels of ghrelin, known as the hunger hormone.
Some medical experts have described the impact of this new research, conducted by the Boston Children’s Hospital in partnership with Framingham State University, as “profound.” It’s certainly a hot topic amid the nation’s obesity epidemic.
“This study confirms that, remarkably, diets higher in starch and sugar change the body’s burn rate after weight loss, lowering metabolism,” Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, the dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, told the New York Times. “The observed metabolic difference was large, more than enough to explain the yo-yo effect so often experienced by people trying to lose weight.”
Low-carb diets lower insulin and raise the hormone glucagon, which helps reverse that fat cell behavior, health experts say. Other research points to carbohydrate limiting as a key treatment for type 2 diabetes.
“On a low-carbohydrate diet, the body may have better access to its calories — the fat cells aren’t hoarding them as much. So there are more calories available for the muscles, for the brain, liver, other organs,” as Dr. David Ludwig, a professor of nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health, told TODAY. That may explain why people who stick to a low-carb regimen burn more energy than those who don’t. Some of the most popular diets today include low-carb options such as the Keto diet and the Atkins diet.
Just in time for the holidays: Low-carb diet may be key to losing weight