Throughout my practice, I have found that a common struggle my patients face is weight loss. No matter the diet or the exercise, they feel like their body is working against them and they cannot lose the weight they want to.
Statistics say that even those who are successful in losing a significant amount of weight gain back one third or one half within a year, or often less.
Low-Carb or Low-Fat?
The battle continues on whether a low-fat diet or a low-carb diet has the longest effects on weight loss. However, new research has concluded that the two are actually equal in success (and failure) rates.
Dr. Christopher Gardner put together a scientific team from the Stanford University School of Medicine and organized a clinical study to get to the bottom of the low-fat/low-carb debate. A group of 609 men and women between the ages of 18 and 50 were recruited.
Half of the participants were instructed to maintain 20g of fat per day for two months, then gradually add fat back into their diet until they felt it was at a level at which they could maintain long-term. The other half of the participants were given the same instructions but with 20g of carbs rather than fat.
Both groups were given the additional dieting instructions:
Throughout the study, each participant attended 22 dieting and nutrition classes to help them on their weight loss journeys.
After a full year, the average weight loss for each participant was 13 pounds, with some losing as much as 60 pounds and others gaining as much as 20 pounds. This included those on the low-fat diet as well as those on the low-carb diet. The average calorie intake for each participant was also similar for both groups at the end of the study.
After several other tests, such as blood pressure, insulin, and blood sugar levels, the results showed that low-fat and low-carb diets are not what makes a difference in weight loss. In fact, they seemed to be almost identical in all categories.
However, the study showed overwhelming results that a focused diet on home-prepared whole foods and vegetables – even without counting calories – is incredibly effective in weight loss.
Though the study has been incredibly eye-opening and opened many doors for further weight loss and dieting research, it also turned out to be rather simple. The most accessible foods these days are too processed and refined to carry any type of nutritious value for your body. So, the only way to really give your body what it needs to thrive is to shop for whole foods.
Another very important factor throughout the study was that the participants were encouraged not to subject themselves to a strict diet, but to develop good eating habits that they felt they could maintain indefinitely. I have found that if a patient’s diet leaves them hungry and deprived, they are more likely to drop it as soon as they can, rather than develop a healthy lifestyle.
The key to weight loss – and ultimately finding a lifestyle that suits you and your health needs – is to steer clear of any processed or refined foods, trans fats, and added sugars, and consciously purchase and prepare those whole foods and vegetables. These suggestions will help you go the extra mile in giving your body the nutrition and energy it needs throughout your life.
Find this and other health-promoting articles by Dr. Partha Nandi on his website, Ask Dr. Nandi.