Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Fun Fact: Not All Diets Are the Same

Most diets work by restricting the intake of calories. However there are three different sources the body obtains calories from: carbohydrates, fats, and protein. Some diets limit the intake of carbohydrates (i.e. Atkin’s diet), while other diets limit the intake of fat (low-fat diet recommended by the Heart Association), and still others seek a balance of all three (low-glycemic index diet for diabetics). Researchers at the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children's Hospital have conducted a study to suggest that not all calorie restriction diets are the same. After participants lost 10-15 of their body weight, they were put on all three of the following diets for 4 weeks each (this randomized the findings and did not depend on when the diet occurred after weight loss). Here are the three diets and what the researchers found:
  • Low-fat diet (60% carbs, 20% fat, 20% protein) – this diet had the greatest decrease in energy expenditure or metabolism, an unhealthy lipid pattern, and insulin resistance.
  • Low-carbohydrate (10% carbs, 60% fat, 30 protein) – this diet had the greatest improvements in metabolism, but it had an increase in cortisol levels and C-reactive protein levels, both which lead to cardiovascular diseases.
  • Low-glycemic index diet (40% carbs (complex/unrefined), 40% fat, 20% protein) – this diet had modest improvements in metabolism after weight loss and it did not have the adverse effects of inflammation or hormone level changes

Based on these findings, a low-glycemic diet after weight loss will help maintain the loss in weight better than a low-fat diet, and it will occur in a way that is healthier to the body, unlike a low-carbohydrate or low-fat diet. Furthermore, the researchers suggest that a low-glycemic diet may also be easier to follow post weight loss because it is less restricting than the other two diets.

Find our more information about this study at Science Daily:

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