Here’s a new study that vindicates what entrepreneurial actress Suzanne Somers was saying in her diet books in the 1990s: that starch and sugar are worse than fat. From the NYT:
Adults who cut carbohydrates from their diets and replaced them with fat sharply increased their metabolisms.
By Anahad O’Connor, Nov. 14, 2018
It has been a fundamental tenet of nutrition: When it comes to weight loss, all calories are created equal. Regardless of what you eat, the key is to track your calories and burn more than you consume.
But a large new study published on Wednesday in the journal BMJ challenges the conventional wisdom. It found that overweight adults who cut carbohydrates from their diets and replaced them with fat sharply increased their metabolisms. After five months on the diet, their bodies burned roughly 250 calories more per day than people who ate a high-carb, low-fat diet, suggesting that restricting carb intake could help people maintain their weight loss more easily.
The new research is unlikely to end the decades-long debate over the best diet for weight loss. But it provides strong new evidence that all calories are not metabolically alike to the body. And it suggests that the popular advice on weight loss promoted by health authorities — count calories, reduce portion sizes and lower your fat intake — might be outdated.
“This study confirms that, remarkably, diets higher in starch and sugar change the body’s burn rate after weight loss, lowering metabolism,” said Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, the dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, who was not involved in the research. “The observed metabolic difference was large, more than enough to explain the yo-yo effect so often experienced by people trying to lose weight.” …
Dr. Mozaffarian called the findings “profound” and said they contradicted the conventional wisdom on calorie counting. “It’s time to shift guidelines, government policy and industry priorities away from calories and low-fat and toward better diet quality.” …
But experts like Dr. Ludwig argue that the obesity epidemic is driven by refined carbohydrates such as sugar, juices, bagels, white bread, pasta and heavily processed cereals. These foods tend to spike blood sugar and insulin, a hormone that promotes fat storage, and they can increase appetite.
One bowl of Cheerios always made me hungrier for a second bowl, which made me hungrier for a third bowl.
Let me emphasize, however, that people are different, so don’t weight my experiences for more than they are worth. Human biodiversity is real. This is a problem for diet research, which is constantly looking for the One True Diet.
The subjects on the low-carb diet also had the sharpest declines in a hormone called ghrelin, which is produced in the stomach. Ghrelin promotes hunger and body fat, and it lowers energy expenditure. Suppressing ghrelin may be one reason the low-carb diet increased metabolism, the authors noted.
Dr. Ludwig emphasized that the results need to be replicated by other investigators and he stressed that the findings do not impugn whole fruits, beans and other unprocessed carbohydrates. Rather, he said, the study suggests that reducing foods with added sugar, flour and other refined carbohydrates could help people maintain weight loss by increasing their metabolisms at a lower body weight.
If I recall my Suzanne Somers biochemical theory correctly, while vegetables are carbohydrates, they take longer to digest than Cheerios, so they don’t make you instantly hungry for a couple more servings of vegetables.
Anyway, never trust me for diet advice.
Trust Suzanne Somers.