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Low-carb diet makes it easier to maintain weight loss

Published on August 6, 2012, has an interesting piece on new research in medical journal JAMA suggesting weight loss is more easily maintained if you eat a low carb style diet of more protein and fewer carbohydrates.

Once you’ve lost weight, it’s easier to maintain your weight loss if you switch to a diet with a bit more protein and a lot fewer carbohydrates. Researchers at Children’s Hospital Boston published their findings in the prestigious medical journal JAMA. Does it sound a bit too extreme? A diet consisting of slow-burning carbohydrates also works.

It’s difficult to lose weight, but maintaining your weight loss is even more difficult. Perhaps because attempts to lose weight change the body’s metabolism and reduce its energy expenditure.

The researchers wanted to test this theory on 21 obese young adults in their 20s and 30s whose average BMI was 34.4. The subjects first lost 12.5 percent of their body weight by following a diet that was moderately rich in protein. The composition is shown below.

Then the real experiment began. The researchers had the subjects maintain their weight loss for 3 periods of 4 weeks each. In the first period, the subjects followed a diet that had very little fat [Low Fat] and an accent on full-grain products.

In the second period, the subjects followed a diet of slow-burning carbohydrates [Low Glycemic Index] in which a number of the grain products were replaced by beans or fruit with little starch.

And in the third period, the subjects followed a diet with a bit more protein and a very few carbohydrates [Very Low Carb], a diet inspired by the Atkins diet.

As you can see below, a diet with slow-burning carbohydrates didn’t reduce energy expenditure as much as the diet with little fat did. But the best results were from the low-carb diet. Physical activity didn’t play a significant role in this study.


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