To this day, scientists are at odds as to whether the low fat or the low carb weight loss strategy is the most effective for losing those extra pounds. On the 25th of January 2010 a study was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine that directly compare the low fat weight loss approach to the typical low carb diet.
One hundred and forty six obese or overweight outpatients from the Department of Veterans Affairs clinics in North Carolina were selected to participate in the study and randomly assigned to either a low carbohydrate diet group or a low fat diet group. The study was conducted over a period of almost a year (48 weeks).
The low carb diet was designed as a ketogenic diet and patients were instructed to consume less than 20g carbs daily. A ketogenic diet can be described as a high fat, adequate protein and low carbohydrate diet that forces the body to burn fat rather than glucose, which it normally manufactures from carbohydrates. The liver converts fats into fatty acids and ketone bodies, which then replaces the glucose as a source of energy. This dietary approach is very similar to the Atkins Diet, which also limits carbs to 20g per day during the Induction Phase.
The low fat diet designed for this study went all out to reduce fat and patients were prescribed Orlistat (120mg 3 times daily) together with a diet very low in fat content. Orlistat is the active ingredient found in Alli and Xenical. Xenical is most often prescribed by doctors for weight problems, while Alli is available over the counter. The low fat eating plan followed by participants was designed to result in a deficit in caloric intake to the tune of 500 to 1000 calories per day. Patients were also expected to ensure that less than 30% of the calories they consume come from fat.
The average weight loss achieved by patients following the low carb diet (without any diet pills or calorie restrictions) equaled the average weight loss for patients following the low fat regime. Keep in mind that the low fat group also had to take diet pills in addition to reducing their calorie intake. HDL and triglyceride cholesterol levels improved similarly for both diet groups. LDL cholesterol levels improved only for the low fat group, whereas the low carb diet had a greater beneficial impact on systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The low carb diet was also slightly more beneficial for glucose and insulin levels, but the differences were not large enough to be regarded as statistically relevant.
The conclusion drawn from this study by the scientists was that a low carbohydrate diet is as effective as orlistat in conjunction with a low fat diet for weight loss and improvement in blood sugar levels, but it is more effective in lowering blood pressure. It is suggested that a low carb diet may be a better weight loss strategy for obese clients with high blood pressure than the typically prescribed treatment of a low fat diet with orlistat.
Continue reading which diet is the best for weight loss - low carb or low fat
It is that time of the year again. The long awaited December festive season. Friends and families plan to spend long lazy days around tables laden with the most tempting of foods. Everyone is excited to be together. There are lots of laughs, and sometimes (especially when we spend time with family) the occasional fight. In the midst of the excitement you may even have occasion to get bored. Ever notice how the same stories often get told and retold at Christmas time? Whatever the emotion or the occasion, holiday foods will be available in abundance to treat you, amuse you and console you. It may seem downright impossible to stick to your diet during the holiday season, but take note of the seven weight loss tips below and you may even be able to lose some weight. At the very least, you can minimize the damage. Every pound you gain over the next couple of weeks have to be dealt with next year after all.
- Keep your blood sugar levels stable by eating regular healthy meals and snacks that contain plenty of protein and fiber. Remember that simple carbs like sugar and baked goods cause huge fluctuations in your blood sugar which in turn makes it difficult for you to resist temptation. Eat something healthy at least every 4 hours. Examples of good snacks are assorted fresh vegetables with humus dips, almonds and peanuts roasted in the shell. Cheese and wholemeal crackers can also make wonderful snacks, but stick to small portions.
- Keep a water bottle with you all the time. You will be surprised how many unnecessary calories water can save you from. Tell yourself you can have any treat you want provided you have half a glass to a glass of water first. Then enjoy the treat. Not only will you automatically eat less, but your energy levels will be up and you will be much more in control of your appetite.
Continue reading about seven strategies to keep losing weight over the holidays
Are you ready for a surprise? You will be forgiven if you have heard of the Apple Cider Vinegar Diet before and immediately dismissed it as just another fad diet; maybe something like the Cabbage Soup Diet, or the Lemon Detox Diet. It turns out there is more to the Apple Cider Vinegar Diet than meets the eye. A recent scientific study on weight loss confirmed the claim that a couple of tablespoons of vinegar (or vinegar diet pills) before meals can actually help melt those spare pounds away!
Two tablespoons of vinegar before each meal help your body maintain the necessary balance in your blood sugar levels to keep those dreaded food cravings at bay. The ingestion of carbohydrate rich foods cause a spike in your blood sugar levels immediately following the meal, which explains why our bodies love carbs so much. The sugar rush makes us feel so good. The initial spike in your blood sugar levels is then followed by a severe drop in blood sugar levels an hour or two later because your body overcompensated for the increased blood sugar levels by releasing too much insulin. Low blood sugar levels in turn result in feelings of hunger and food cravings. Your body is programmed to try and re-balance your blood sugar levels and before you know it, you are hungry again and caught in a vicious cycle of overeating.
Apple cider vinegar taken before a meal will reduce the sugar load into your bloodstream immediately following that meal. The energy contained in the food will be released slower and more gradually. You will feel fuller for longer and eat less because you are more in control of you appetite. For a more in depth discussion see this weight loss research article on the relationship between apple cider vinegar and slimming. It is fair to say that you will most probably see the same results with most types of vinegar, so if you don’t like apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar can be a great alternative. If you don’t like vinegar in its liquid form at all, help is available in the form of diet supplements.
Continue reading about how Apple Cider Vinegar in liquid or diet pill form can help you lose weight
It is no secret that one of the biggest problems all of us are faced with today is the sheer abundance of information on all topics, including weight loss. It is just too easy for very valuable articles (even those published in prestigious scientific journals) to disappear amongst all the other articles, blogs and advertisements all claiming that they have found the cure to all your weight loss problems. It is a rare pleasure then to stumble upon a research article published in a well known scientific journal that explains how and why a few changes to your lifestyle can help you lose weight and maintain your optimal body weight.
The article I am referring to, Strategies for Healthy Weight Loss: From Vitamin C to the Glycemic Response, was published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition in 2005 by Carol Johnston from the Department of Nutrition at the Arizona. This article may have been published over three years ago; but all the strategies suggested are still valid. They are also easy to follow and understand. What follows is a discussion of this research paper.
The two most obvious factors contributing to the obesity problem faced by the American public are reduced physical activity and increased energy intake. Of course, while most people recognize these two factors as the real causes for the obesity epidemic, it is also becoming increasingly clear that there is more to this very serious health problem than meets the eye. The fight against obesity is further complicated by a number of other influences, including psychological issues, cultural differences, lifestyle choices, environmental factors and then of course individual differences. The good news is that there are a number of strategies available to improve your chances of losing weight permanently.
Continue reading how Vitamin C and a high protein diet can help you lose weight and maintain your optimal body weight