Do Low Carb Diets Actually Support Weight Loss?

bread and pasta

Do low carb weight loss plans really work? They are certainly popular and include not only the Atkins Diet, but also the South Beach Diet, the Zone, and even the Palaeolithic Diet Plans. But while many doctors question the effectiveness of low carb diets for weight loss, recent research suggests that they may, in fact, be very effective after all.

The Link to Insulin Resistance

A new study, presented at the Endocrine Society's 92nd Annual Meeting in San Diego, suggests that for women with insulin resistance, a low carb diet may be the best route to effective weight loss. The study found that obese women with insulin resistance who were on a low carb diet for three months, lost more weight than those who followed a low fat diet.

Conducted by Raymond Plodkowski, MD, at the University of Nevada School of Medicine, the research followed 45 obese women aged 18 to 65 who had insulin resistance.

Structure of the Program

The women followed either a low fat or a low carb diet for twelve weeks the low fat diet provided 60 percent of calories from carbs, 20 percent from fat and 20 percent from protein while the low carb diet offered 45 percent of the total calories from carbs, 35 percent from unsaturated fats and 20 percent from protein.

By the end of the program, both groups had lost weight, but those on the low carb diet had lost an average of 3.4 pounds more than those on the low fat diet an average of 19.6 pounds for those on the low carb diet compared to 16.2 pounds for those women following the low fat diet.

A Growing Problem?

This is important, as insulin resistance is a growing problem in Western societies. Insulin resistance is a common precursor for Type 2 diabetes, and is believed to be caused by diets that contain an excess of sugar and highly processed carbs. People with insulin resistance metabolise carbohydrates poorly, with the body storing most of the carbs they eat as fat as a result, they often feel hungry, and crave more simple carbs.

This vicious cycle leads inevitably to weight gain.

Reduce Key Carbohydrates

Reducing insulin resistance involves changing the way you eat avoiding what are termed white foods (bread, pasta, white rice and sugar) and basing your diet on:

  • Lean meats and dairy
  • High-fibre grains
  • Vegetables and legumes
  • Leafy greens
  • Fruit

This will allow the bodys insulin levels to reset themselves and change the way you process carbs. In addition you will need to eat regularly that means breakfast, lunch, dinner, and two snacks every day.

In Summary

Each time you eat you should aim to get your carbohydrates from vegetables and fruits, and be sure to include some lean protein. Eating this way will reset your insulin system and help you to lose weight.

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