Why Calorie Counting for Weight Loss Works

If you've just discovered the NowLoss Diet then you may wonder whether or not sensible dieting (i.e. burning more calories than you actually consume) works better than the low-carb craze which is currently all the rage.

Recent research based on some of the most precise data obtained to date, shows that restricting dietary fat (i.e. a diet which is lower in calories) Can result in more body fat loss than carbohydrate restriction, even though Atkins-styled diets reduce insulin levels and promote fat burning.

The study, carried out by the National Institutes of Health and published in the journal Cell Metabolism, relied on data from studies conducted over the past few decades to analyse how different nutrients affect body fat levels.

Lead author of the study, Dr. Kevin Hall, noted that despite the heated debate on low-calorie vs low-carb diets, no study had been carried out on reduced carbohydrates diet that analysed the effect of consuming low vs high amounts of fat.

Hall postulated that a reduced fat diet would lead to overall body fat loss, a theory that was confirmed by his findings.

Hall noted that it is very difficult to truly assess how effective a low carb weight loss plan is, because people may not necessarily follow this diet strictly, may misjudge the amount of food they consume, or complete follow-up surveys in a not-so-truthful manner.

He and his research team therefore observed 19 adults facing obesity, all of whom agreed to stay at a metabolic ward for a couple of two-week periods. During this time, scientists had the benefit of controlling exactly what was eaten by the participants.

To keep their analysis simple, participants followed two different diets during the two different observation periods.

At the end of the two periods, results were compared.

Researchers found that the amount of body fat lost when fat was restricted, was higher compared to when carbohydrates were restricted, even though more fat was actually burned in the low-carbohydrate diet. Over time, however, the body minimizes body fat differences between diets that vary greatly in their carb-to-fat ratio.

Hall and his team concluded that It is not true that carbohydrate calories are more fattening than fat calories. Over the long term, there isn't much difference between restricting calories or carbohydrates. Therefore, it makes sense to keep our caloric consumption beneath a certain level if we wish to pursue lasting weight loss.

There is a further reason why a common-sense approach to weight loss makes sense; many dieters fail because they are tired of fad diets and yo-yo weight loss and gain.

Those who may have suffered from eating disorders like bulimia, meanwhile, will have learned of the importance of approaching food consumption from a health perspective.

Severely restrictive diets, such as those which practically ban all carbohydrates in the first few weeks, can lead to frustration and ultimately, can backfire, resulting in unhealthy behaviors such as bingeing and purging, or bingeing on so-called 'allowed' high-protein, high-fat foods, which are detrimental to health in the long run.

As Hall notes, 'the best diet is the one that you can actually stick to'. We might add that even better is one that fosters good health, and that is based on the Mediterranean model of lean meats, fish, legumes, and seasonal fruits and vegetables.

This type of diet is easy to follow because even those who have an active social life and dine out regularly, can usually find something healthy yet delicious on the menu (think a healthy grilled fish with salad, chicken breast, fruit salad etc.). The longer people have been on a diet, the more important it is to set realistic goals and to consume foods that are appealing, appetizing and nutritious.

Daily exercise is also of great use in so far as burning off more than we consume is concerned. If you are trying to lose weight, try to aim for a combination of cardio and strength-based exercises, to ensure you keep up your strength as you rid your body of excess fat.

this is an article by Helen Galway

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