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Harvard Health Blog
Can a low-carbohydrate diet help keep weight off?
- By Fatima Cody Stanford, MD, MPH, MPA, FAAP, FACP, FTOS, Contributor
About the Author
Fatima Cody Stanford, MD, MPH, MPA, FAAP, FACP, FTOS, Contributor
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
Another article that goes on and on and says nothing. As a long time low-carb advocate —it works. It’s not always about weight loss. Overall health, especially blood sugar levels, are drastically improved avoiding sugars, grains, and starchy veggies.
It would seem logical that if one’s weight is increasing, looking at the types, amount, and content of foods/liquids consumed would give some idea of sources of weight gain. It is already well known that sugars in general (sugar, CHO’s) cause weight gain, particularly when energy expenditure is low and intake is well above the bodies needs. Working from that standpoint by reducing sugars and carbs and increasing energy expenditure one may experience weight loss. If it works, continue. That said, there are many factors that create barriers to change, starting with denial and then a host of other factors. On the deliberate and more sinister end of the spectrum are food chemistry and the psychological/emotional impact of marketing.
Of course, there are carbs and carbs! How can anybody talk about carbs without distinguishing between sugar bars and apples ? And how about resistance starch?
No wonder so many people are confused when the experts are so imprecise.
“it might be a good idea to evaluate the carbohydrate content…”
No reason at all to do that if the carbs comes from WFPB (Whole Food Plant Based) diet and the intake of fat is limited (then the cells/ insulin cells will do the job just fine)
Why do you write this article without coming to final conclusion? It is misleading, especially, from the deadline.
The article describes data from a weight loss study done over 20 weeks. This is a very short interval. From several longer term studies weight loss is best in the short term (6 months) and poorer in the longer term (1-2 years). The study discussed is likely very misleading. Would suggest readers avoid any dietary changes based on the above study.
But they don’t say what KIND of carbohydrates. Very important! Roughly: sugar good; gluten-containing carbs not too good (cause inflammation); processed carbs terrible. Whole-grain non-gluten carbs OK in moderation.
They also don’t address diseases from a high fat diet. I’d research further.
@Isabel, but it is the proportion of carbohydrates to fats and proteins. Very important! The hearty-healthy-grains stuff is largely rubbish because “moderation” leads to a higher proportion of carbohydrate intake and that counters fat+protein satiation. Bottom line: Wanna stay satiated longer? Easier to maintain on a low-carb diet and, thus, easier to not rebound to bad (weight-gaining) habits.
Avoid sugar when possible.
I must say that it is a nice review and I read somewhere in a Biochemistry,
carbohydrates in excess may be converted to fat. It’s a vague memory.
I am trying to cut down, carbs. from my diet. I am OK with BMI= <25.
Please don’t oversimplify the should I eat carbs message. Dirt cheap high glycemic starch and sugar are unquestionably bad they spike blood glucose and insulin levels and lead directly to insulin resistance (pre-diabetes). Outcome studies and plausible biological mechanisms confirm this. Unfortunately the only carbs on the shelves are high glycemic starch and sugar making up over 50% of food consumption. Meanwhile good carbs (fiber) is the baby thrown out with the bathwater.
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