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Posted by on Jan 7, 2014 in Nutrition, Chewing It Over | 0 comments

Carbs or Calories for Weight Loss?

Carbs or Calories for Weight Loss?

I hope, by now, you’ve shaken off the ancient belief that dietary fat single handedly causes fatness and a mob of cardiac diseases the Spartans couldn’t hold off. You see, America’s exponential weight gain and health problems carried along just fine, even after the campaign against fat and the subsequent low-fat foods hitting the market.

docIf you read my article on breakfast and weight loss , you probably realized how easily correlations get misinterpreted as causations, which combined with media roar, confuses the hell out of the public, including the researchers that should know better. So fat ain’t as evil it was made out to be.

Growing from experience, the scientific community has now turned its attention onto carbs, and this time, they seem to have more solid associations to lean on.

Realize I said associations and not causations?  Health and weight loss are multi-variable phenomenon that make it almost impossible for any definitive statements. This by no means infers complete incapacity and blindness, as each rigorously studied insinuation offers more reliable grounds for self experimentation. Okey-dokey?

The connection between low carbohydrate diet, weight loss and coronary heart disease was noticed in two observational studies. I was gonna spare you the studies, but the details are important to adjusting your macro-nutrient (protein, fat and carb) portions.

  • The Nurses Health Study announced that coronary heart disease declined when dietary carbohydrate was reduced from ~ 60% to ~ 40%  and replaced with protein and fat [1].
  • Another study found more optimum blood lipid profiles with raised HDL (the good cholesterol), and lowered triglycerides, with ~30% carbohydrate intake  [2].

But, before you swear off carbs and wolf down fat and protein, you should know that two other studies tied weight reduction to not just a low carb/low-glycemic regimen, but also to hypocaloric diet in obese individuals [3] & [4].

In none of these studies, carbs were completely eliminated, in case, the more ambitious and a little less patient among you were looking for shortcuts. Moreover, athletes require more carbs to help recover muscles.

ffIf you are looking to manage your weight, keep an eye on the carbs and overall calories.

 

References:
[1] Low-carbohydrate-diet score and the risk of coronary heart disease
[2] Atherogenic lipoprotein phenotype and diet-gene interactions
[3] Comparison of two diets of varying glycemic index 
[4] Low calorie and carbohydrate diet

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