Are you having trouble keeping weight off after spending months dieting because of your food choices?
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, fast results are more desirable and so they diet. Because we’ve been there, done that, we know exactly what you are going through. So, let’s see what we need to know about maintaining that hard-earned weight loss by making a few of the right food choices. Read on…
Are all Food Choices Alike When it Comes to Calories?
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. And 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. Looking at the different body types and shapes at the same weight – 150lbs. = 68.0389kg.
BMI is about the percent of fat you have on your body, not your weight. I’m sure you’ve seen pictures of people that are the same height and weight but wear different sizes. They look great because they have increased their muscle tone by exercising.
So, why do we regain weight?
Reduced motivation or commitment to diet and exercise often causes regained weight. 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.
Even though the diets had the same number of calories, they varied in their levels of carbohydrates, fat and protein, and surprisingly, the long-term results:
- One diet was low-fat, with 60% of calories from carbohydrate, 20% from fat and 20% from protein.
- Another diet 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 diet 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.
What was Measured?
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. So, the very-low carbohydrate diet burned 200 more daily calories than the low-glycemic diet (2,937). Additionally, it burned 325 more calories than the low-fat diet (2,812). Hormone levels and other metabolic measures also varied by diet.
The very-low carbohydrate diet produced the most improvement in metabolism, but 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!
Related Links May Help with Food Choices
- Overweight and Obesity
- Health Risks of Being Overweight
- Brief Personal Counseling May Help Maintain Weight Loss
References: JAMA. 2012 Jun 27;307(24):2627-34. PMID:22735432