Low-carb diet burns the most calories in small study
By Nanci Hellmich, USA TODAY
A new study is raising questions about the age-old belief that a calorie is a calorie.
The research finds that dieters who were trying to maintain their weight loss burned significantly more calories eating a low-carb diet than they did eating a low-fat diet.
But some experts say these findings are very preliminary.
The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, was designed to see if changing the type of diet people consumed helped with weight maintenance because dieters often regain lost weight.
So scientists had 21 obese participants, ages 18 to 40, lose 10% to 15% of their initial body weight (about 30 pounds). After their weight had stabilized, each participant followed one of three different diets for four weeks. Participants were fed food that was prepared for them by diet experts. The dieters were admitted to the hospital four times for medical and metabolic testing.
Here’s a look at the three types of diets used in the new study:
A low-fat diet, which is about 20% of calories from fat, 60% from carbohydrates, 20% from protein. It emphasizes whole-grain products and fruits and vegetables and cuts way back on oils, nuts, fatty meats and other high-fat foods.
A low-carb diet, similar to the Atkins diet, with only 10% of calories from carbohydrates, 30% from protein, 60% from fat. This diet emphasizes beef, fish, chicken, eggs, cheese, some vegetables and fruits while slashing the consumption of breads, pasta, potatoes, rice, cakes, cookies and starchy vegetables.