Anyone who’s ever tried to lose weight likely deduced that the key to trimming off fat is achieved by a simple equation: expending more calories per day than you consume. However, new research seems to challenge this diet doctrine. A recent study published in the BMJ journal discovered that calories aside, weight loss may be heavily dependent on which food groups you eat the most. The results showed that a low-carb diet may be the key to slimming down.
Why you should try a low-carb diet plan for weight loss
To come to these findings, researchers divided overweight participants into three diet groups: high carb (with carbs making up 60 percent of one’s total caloric intake), moderate carb (40 percent of total caloric intake), and low carb (20 percent of total caloric intake). Protein intake remained fixed at 20 percent of total calories across all groups. After 20 weeks on the groups’ respective diets, results showed that those on the low-carb diet lost the most weight. For every 10 percent decrease in total caloric intake from carbs, folks burned an extra 50 to 70 calories. In simpler terms, the low-carb group burned between 209 and 278 calories per day more than those following the high-carb eating plan.
Researchers also noticed hormonal changes in participants in response to the different diets—which explains the metabolism boost and subsequent calorie burn that the low-carb group experienced. The hunger hormone ghrelin, which has been linked to a lower energy expenditure and greater fat deposition, was significantly lower in the low-carb group. What’s more, researchers found that the low-carb group may also have a higher sensitivity to leptin—which translates to feeling more satiated and less hungry overall.
How to eat low-carb
If you’re planning to recreate this diet at home, aim for an eating plan that replaces refined sugars and flours with complex carbs while keeping your total carb intake at 20 percent. (You can track your macros on an app like MyFitnessPal.)
Up your daily fat intake to 60 percent of your total daily calories by swapping starchy eats with healthy high-fat foods such as salmon, olive oil, nuts, and seeds. As for protein, fill your remaining daily calorie allotment with lean meats, organic tofu, and fish.
If you’re feeling valiant, why not take a stab at the keto diet? After all, we tried the keto diet for 10 days and saw serious results!