Most Effective Diets Limit Carbs, Not Fat

People on low-carb diets seem to burn more calories and shed pounds faster than individuals on other diet plans, like diets that limit fat intake, MyHealthNewsDaily reported June 26.

Researchers report that overweight people burn an average of 350 more calories daily on a low-carb diet than on a low-fat diet — an amount “equal to one hour of moderate physical activity, without lifting a finger,” says lead author David S. Ludwig of Children’s Hospital Boston.

“From a metabolic perspective, all calories are not alike,” adds Ludwig. “The quality of the calories going in affects the number of the calories going out.”

The study compared the results of three types of diet: low-fat, low-carb, and a diet focusing on food that is low on the glycemic index, such as carbs like brown bread and brown rice rather than white bread and white rice.

Individuals on the low-carb diet burned the most calories but also experienced an increase in stress hormones and inflammation. With the low-fat diet, insulin resistance, lipid levels, and HDL (good) cholesterol levels were negatively affected. “The low glycemic index diet gives you many of the same [calorie burning] advantages of the low-carb diet without any of the extremes,” Ludwig says, although it does include relatively high levels of fat.

The research was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

(Photo © Toolmantim via Flickr)