Calories are not created equal. Diets with different ratios of carbs and fat but identical amounts of calories have very different effects on hormones, hunger and metabolism. Therefore, reducing calories will not necessarily lead to weight loss; conversely, increasing calories does not automatically translate into added pounds. Burning more than you consume seems like a logical weight-loss strategy, but apparently that’s not how it works. According to this study, cutting carbs helps maintain weight loss.
There have been numerous studies—many with conflicting results—on the impact of various diets on weight loss, and some studies show success with high-carb diets. But most of these studies are too short—some completed in less than a week—to be meaningful; the body requires several weeks to adjust metabolically from high carb to low carb to achieve statistically significant weight loss.
Controversy will likely continue to rage—many health “authorities” have made calorie-counting the centerpiece of their philosophy. But this study makes it clear that calories are not all metabolically alike to the body. Starch and sugar appear to alter the body’s burn rate, lowering metabolism. Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, stated that the findings were statistically significant and that they contradicted conventional wisdom. “It’s time to shift guidelines, government policy and industry priorities away from calories and low-fat and toward better diet quality.”
So beware faulty diet information everywhere you go. Ironically, the National Institutes of Health, which partially funded the study, still recommends on their website that people count calories. It claims that dietary fat has more calories per gram than protein or carbs: “You need to limit fats to avoid extra calories”. Geez!
This Study has been published in the British Medical Journal. It was funded primarily by the Nutrition Science Initiative, a non-profit founded by Gary Taubes, the New Balance Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health.
How can you implement this new wisdom into your eating habits?
- fewer high-glycemic foods
- fewer grains and starches
- less or no added sugars
- don’t be afraid of fat.
Here’s a good list of healthy fats to get you started:
- pastured butter + ghee
- coconut oil + MCT oil
- extra virgin olive oil
- nuts and seeds
- pastured eggs
- grass-fed organic beef + lamb
- pastured whole dairy products
For more information check out this helpful article about healthy fats!