Watching Calories Not Fats And Carbs Helps Weight Loss

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
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New research, conducted in Boston at Harvard University School of Public Health, shows us that watching calories helps us lose, and maintain weight loss - regardless of fat, carbs or protein food content.

The newest study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that weight loss and weight control are easiest with a focus on a heart healthy diet, avoidance of saturated fats and cholesterol, and a bit of calorie counting.

Elizabeth G. Nabel, M.D., director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) says, "These results show that, as long as people follow a heart-healthy, reduced-calorie diet, there is more than one nutritional approach to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.

The Preventing Overweight Using Novel Dietary Strategies (POUNDS LOST) study, funded in part by the NHLBI, shows it is possible to chose a diet that works for you. When we reduce our calories, and add some dietary fiber, weight loss should be inevitable.

Study participants who cut calories, regardless of fat, carbs or protein were able to lost one to three inches around the waist, an average of thirteen pounds by six months, and nine pounds of sustained weight loss after two years.

Study co-author, Catherine M. Loria, Ph.D., a nutritional epidemiologist at NHLBI says,” We were encouraged that, in addition to achieving and maintaining weight loss, study participants experienced other positive health changes as well.” It turns out those watching calories, while allowing some flexibility with dieting also has some heart healthy advantages.

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Regardless of which of the four diets consumed in the study, all markers of heart health improved – LDL (bad) cholesterol levels dropped, HDL (good) cholesterol levels went up, blood glucose levels got better, and triglyceride levels improved –a previously known effect of just losing weight. Blood pressure levels also improved because of watching calories consumed.

The study groups, composed of 811 adults age 30 to 70, were assigned diets ranging between 1,200 to 2,400 calories daily, based on their energy requirements. They were asked to exercise moderately for ninety minutes a week. All of the participants in the weight loss study were healthy, but had risk factors such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure. The study included men, women, and various ethnic groups. All participants received dietary counseling.

The four diets given to the group included either low fat, average protein; high fat, high-protein; Low-fat, high protein; high fat, average protein.

The study authors write... “Any type of diet, when taught for the purpose of weight loss with enthusiasm and persistence, can be effective. When nonnutritional influences are minimized, as they were in our study, the specific macronutrient content is of minor importance…”

The study provides important information for us all, especially those struggling with weight loss, but confused about what to eat.

The authors suggest that weight loss can happen by watching calories, showing that calorie counting may be a much more successful approach to weight loss when compared to focusing on the amount of fats, carbohydrates, or protein consumed daily.

Read more about calories and weight loss

Source: http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/360/9/859

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Comments

Hello Kathleen! "...found that weight loss and weight control are easiest with a focus on a heart healthy diet, avoidance of saturated fats..." - What if I told you that there is a saturated fat that will effectively help you manage your weight? Many people don't know that there is more than one type of saturated fat? Coconut oil is 92% saturated but predominantly medium chain fatty acids (MCFA). Almost all other fats/oils (saturated or unsaturated, plant- or animal-based) are mostly, if not entirely, long chain fatty acids (LCFA). MCFAs are quickly digested by your body. MCFA-rich coconut oil goes straight to your liver to power metabolism, which simply can't be said of LCFA-rich oils. MCFAs are so different from LCFAs. Their absorption, transport, metabolism and uses are completely different. Just my two cents.