Carbohydrate-Restricted Diet After Weight Loss Increases Energy Metabolism (BCH)

A carbohydrate-restricted diet can help people maintain weight after losing weight. The energy metabolism is on average 250 kcal / day higher than with a diet that contains the same number of calories, but more carbohydrates. This is apparent from a randomized, controlled study (RCT)published in BMJ .
Carbohydrate-Restricted Diet

Weight retention after losing weight

The study was conducted on 164 overweight people who had lost 10-14 percent of their body weight with an energy-restricted diet in the 10 weeks before. In the following period, the participants received a diet with the same amount of calories and proteins (20 energy percent), but different amounts of carbohydrates (20, 40 or 60 energy percent) and fats (60, 40 or 20 energy percent). The carbohydrates were of high quality in all 3 groups, with whole-grain being preferred over refined grains and keeping sugar to a minimum. The 3 groups of participants were provided with all meals for 20 weeks.

Higher energy metabolism
The weight of the participants remained approximately constant during the study, which was also the intention. The researchers did discover clear differences in energy metabolism, measured with the so-called double-labeled water method. The lower the carbohydrate content in the diet, the higher the energy metabolism. For each decrease of 10 energy percent carbohydrates, energy metabolism increased by approximately 50 kcal / day. If the difference in energy metabolism between the low and high carbohydrate group persists even after 20 weeks, the researchers calculated that this would result in a considerable weight loss: 9 kilos in 3 years without a change in calorie intake.

Carbohydrate-insulin hypothesis

The difference in energy consumption was even 400 kcal per day among participants who had a high insulin production at the start of the study. The researchers also found a lower level of ghrelin (the hunger-inducing hormone) in the group with the carbohydrate-restricted diet. According to the researchers, not every calorie is therefore the same for the body. According to them, the results of the study support the carbohydrate-insulin hypothesis. It states that an abundance of carbohydrates increases the insulin content, which stimulates fat cells to store calories. The result is that the body has fewer calories available, which increases hunger and slows metabolism. The researchers call this a recipe for weight gain. They conclude that a carbohydrate-restricted diet makes weight maintenance easier.
more-calories">Boston Children’s Hospital

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