The amount of carbs you should eat in order to achieve a healthy weight is a hot topic these days. Should you eat a low-carb diet or a high-carb diet in order to win the battle of the bulge? When it comes down to it, there is little consensus among experts on the perfect mix of carbs, protein and fat that creates the best weight loss results over the long-term. Data suggests that high-protein/low-carb diets bring about greater weight loss in the short-term, compared with overall low-calorie diets, but at the end of one year there is no difference in weight loss. There is evidence that the Mediterranean diet (40 percent of calories from "good" fats and high in whole grains, fruits and vegetables) is as effective as low-carb and low-fat diets in weight reduction over two years. Researchers have also discovered that diets low in whole grains, fiber, fruit and vegetables, and high in trans fats are linked with obesity.
New weight study looks at diets of free-living adults. Despite the growing field of research on weight loss and diet, scientists know little about the dietary habits of free-living (without imposed restrictions) people that manage to keep their weight under control, even when they live in communities with rampant obesity rates. However, a new study published in the July 2009 issue of The Journal of the American Dietetic Association explores this issue. Scientists from the University of South Carolina, University of Saskatchewan in Canada, McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, and the United Arab Emirates University investigated the relationship between dietary carbohydrate intake and weight in 4,451 healthy, free-living adults aged 18 and older who participated in the Canadian Community Health Survey, Cycle 2.2, a cross-sectional survey of Canadians conducted in 2004-2005.
The participants' diets were assessed based on a 24-hour recall of all foods and beverages they consumed. Variables like age, sex, physical activity, income, education level and total calorie intake were taken into account. The results of the study indicated that overweight and obesity were lowest among people who consumed 47-64 percent of calories from carbohydrates. This falls right into line with the current U.S.D.A. Dietary Guidelines recommendation for carbohydrate intake of 45-65 percent of calories. These participants consumed more fruit, vegetables and fiber, less saturated fat and reported being more physically active than those who consumed fewer carbohydrates.
Putting carbs into perspective. These findings make sense. Many foods linked with weight loss--whole grains, fruits and vegetables--contain carbs. Previous studies have linked higher fruit and vegetable intake with lower rates of obesity. Other studies indicate that people who eat more high-calorie foods (foods rich in refined carbs and unhealthy fats, such as snack foods and soft drinks) and fewer whole grains tend to weigh more. The researchers stressed that the bottom line for diet and weight gain is that it occurs as a result of eating more calories than the body requires, which also can be impacted by genes and the environment. While scientists have much more to learn about the complicated field of obesity and dietary patterns, the best advice for a style of eating that can help you lose weight is simple: Eat more whole, unrefined plant foods and less unhealthy fats--and get out there and exercise.
"New findings look at the best carbohydrate intake for optimal weight." Environmental Nutrition Nov. 2009: 3. Academic OneFile. Web. 3 Nov. 2009.
(Album / Profile) http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=10034&id=1661531726&l=0b77e26203