Are you having trouble keeping weight off after you spend months dieting? You aren’t alone, it’s a common complaint and the cause of yo-yo dieting. Keeping weight off that you’ve lost through dieting alone is hard work. We prefer a combination of exercise with thoughtful eating, but realize that is slow and for some, they want to see fast results so they diet. We get it. So, let’s see what we need to know about maintaining that hard-earned weight loss! Read on…
Are all Calories Alike?
The mix of carbohydrate, fat and protein in your diet may be a critical factor in maintaining weight loss. To your body, not all calories are created equal.
Many people have difficulty keeping weight off once they’ve lost it. Only 1 in 6 overweight people will maintain at least 10% of their weight loss. Remember what we talked about in our article – SF: Benefits of Even Moderate Weight Loss. BMI is about the percent of fat you have on your body, not your weight. I’m sure you’ve see the pictures of people that have starting a combination of diet and exercise program that weigh more but wear a smaller size. They look great (because they have muscle tone). Look at the different body types and shapes at the same weight – 150lbs. = 68.0389kg.
Why do we regain weight?
Weight regain is often caused by reduced motivation or commitment to diet and exercise. Basically, we get tired of dieting. In addition, weight loss slows the body’s metabolism, making it more difficult to burn calories. [Read How to Speed Up Your Metabolism]
A research team, led by Drs. Cara Ebbeling and David Ludwig at Boston Children’s Hospital, explored the effects of different diets on the ability to burn calories after weight loss. Their 4-year study was funded in part by NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and National Center for Research Resources (NCRR).
The team recruited 21 adults, ages 18 to 40, and placed them on an initial diet to lose 10% to 15% of their body weight. All participants began the study with a body mass index (a ratio of weight to height) of 27 or higher, classifying them as overweight or obese (Remember, this simply means that they have upwards of approximately 24.9% bodyfat). After their weight loss, the participants followed 3 different diets in random order, each for 4 weeks at a time.
The diets had the same number of calories, but varied in their levels of carbohydrate, fat and protein.
• One diet was low-fat, with 60% of calories from carbohydrate, 20% from fat and 20% from protein.
• The second was a low-glycemic index diet (designed to prevent spikes in blood sugar), with 40% of calories from carbohydrate, 40% from fat and 20% from protein.
• The third was a very-low carbohydrate (“Atkins”) diet, with 10% of daily calories from carbohydrate, 60% from fat and 30% from protein.
∼The study was published on June 27, 2012, in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The scientists measured the participants’ energy expenditure and other aspects of metabolism. They found that the number of calories burned daily differed among the 3 diets. On average, the very-low carbohydrate diet resulted in 3,137 daily calories burned. That was 200 more daily calories burned than the low-glycemic diet (2,937) and 325 more than the low-fat diet (2,812). Hormone levels and other metabolic measures also varied by diet.
Although the very-low carbohydrate diet produced the most improvement in metabolism, the participants had higher levels of known risk factors for diabetes and heart disease, most notably the stress hormone cortisol. The low-glycemic index diet appeared to have benefits similar to the very-low carbohydrate diet with fewer negative effects. The researchers suggest that eating low-glycemic foods like less-processed grains, vegetables and legumes may be the best choice for lasting weight loss and heart disease prevention.
“In addition to the benefits noted in this study, we believe that low-glycemic index diets are easier to stick to on a day-to-day basis compared to low-carb and low-fat diets, which many people find limiting,” Ebbeling says. “Unlike low-fat and very-low carbohydrate diets, a low-glycemic index diet doesn’t eliminate entire classes of food, likely making it easier to follow and more sustainable.” by Miranda Hanson, Ph.D.
We hope you found this information helpful. Thank you for visiting with us today. Wishing you the best of health!
- Weight-control Information Network
- Overweight and Obesity
- Certain Foods Linked to Long-term Weight Gain
- Brief Personal Counseling May Help Maintain Weight Loss
References: JAMA. 2012 Jun 27;307(24):2627-34. PMID:22735432