low calorie diet foodsThose of us who have ever been thinking about losing weight and starting a healthy diet definitely know about the effects of low calorie diets. Specialists recommend a combination of active lifestyle with plenty of physical exercise and a low calorie diet as the best and the proven formula for effective weight loss and management. That is why those who are trying to reduce body mass and become leaner very often use an approach known as ‘calorie counting’:  summing up calorie content of the foods consumed during the day, along with controlling daily calorie burning (as a result of physical activities). This approach can work out and help initiate weight loss for most of us. However, nutritionists and weight loss specialists are convinced that mere calorie reduction and calorie counting may not be enough for effective weight loss.

It turns out that calorie in different foods have different meaning for our body, and we must always keep this rule in mind when choosing the right low calorie diet foods. So say the findings of a new study by Harvard School scientists. Calorie counting can be effective for weight loss, however, using the right foods for your low calorie diet plays not less important role. According to the study leaders, Professor of Pediatrics David Ludwig and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics Cara Ebbeling from HMS, consuming foods low in glycemic index or very low in processed carbs can be the best solution to those who want to lose and maintain a proper body mass. Calorie CountingSuch low calorie diet foods can assist in reducing blood sugar and have excellent metabolic effects, without increased risks of inflammation or food restriction related stresses, the scientists say.

The objective of the study was to test the effects of various low calories diet plans not only to weight loss, but also to reduced weight maintenance. 21 overweight and obese participants were invited to take part in the study, and the first phase of the experiment involved losing weight, ending up with an average 12.5 per cent body mass reduction for each participant. Then, in order to maintain the achieved results, the participants were divided into three groups. The first group was offered to consume a low-fat and low calorie diet rich in fruit, veggies and whole grains, which was created  by the American Heart Association. The second group was assigned to consume the famous Atkins Diet, a low calorie diet with plenty of protein and fat but low in carbs. The third was a low glycemic index diet plan, more focused on quality of carbs and similar to the one used in the Zone diet.

After analyzing the effects of all three diets, it became apparent that a low-fat low calorie diet caused slowed down metabolism and could not assist an effective weight loss due to fewer calorie burning. The second low-carb diet helped the participants to achieve better results and lose more weight compared to the participants from the first group. At the same time, this kind of low calorie diet was associated with increased markers of inflammation and stress (cortisol levels), which can increase the risks of cardiovascular problems and other serious diseases. low glycemic index dietThe third diet (low glycemic index diet) helped the participants to achieve the best results and burn the most calories, at that imposing them at no risk of stresses or inflammation. These findings were published this summer in one of the issues of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

It’s not that calories don’t matter, but the quality of the calories going in can affect the number of calories going out,” Dr. David Ludwig who is also a director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Harvard-affiliated Boston Children’s Hospital, said. He underlined that this study had become one more important evidence in a current controversy and public discussion between the world’s leading nutritionists, who argue against or for focusing on lowering processed carbs rather than reducing fat for effective weight loss. Keep in mind the described effects of consuming processed carbs like the ones in white rice, bread, cereals, etc. and choose the right low calorie foods with low glycemic index (or minimally processed foods which do not cause blood sugar level rise after consuming those) for your weight loss diet. More information about the study of Harvard School experts, the objectives and conclusions, can be found in this article.

Author Info: Hi! My name is Carla and I am a 5th year medical student at HYMS. I am interested in alternative medicine and I have done months researching the topic of herbal medicine. Besides, I like interviewing people and learning more about their experiences with one or another type of herbal treatments. I am willing to contribute to this site with my knowledge, and I would be happy to help you out to the best of my ability with any specific questions or problems related to alternative medicine.

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