Rejoice paleo dieters, for your study has come. A new study in the Annals of Internal Medicine is suggesting that a low-carb diet may not only be better for losing weight, it has tangible heart health benefits as well.
Researchers have for the most part supported the low-carb revolution, but have long feared that it was a detriment to heart health, due to high fat concentrations. You are what you eat in this case.
The big caveat out of the study from Dr. Lydia Bazzano from Tulane, is that proper nutritional counseling is needed to see the dual benefits. Well, that’s not any fun. You mean eating half a cow per day is still bad for me? It turns out, we still need portion control, and not the American-ized portion.
“This study shows if you are overweight and have cardiovascular disease risk factors and haven’t had success on other diets, certainly a low-carbohydrate diet is worth a try,” said Bazzano.
For the study, Dr. Bazzano and her team picked 148 obese men and women between the ages of 22 and 75. To get a complete picture of diet only, the participants did not alter their physical activity for the year-long study.
Out of the 148, the group was split down the middle. Half were given a low-carbohydrate diet and the other a low-fat diet. Every participant had to attend meetings on portion control, and were given one meal replacement shake or bar per day.
The breakdown in low-carb diet was that participants were not allowed to have more than 40 grams of digestible carbs each day. Low-fat participants were told to get no more of their daily caloric intake from fat, and a ceiling of 55% from carbs. Yeah, low-fat doesn’t mean you can annihilate the pastry section at Starbucks.
At the end of the year-long study, 4 out of 5 participants were still on their respective diets.
The results of the randomized diet trial showed that low-carb trumped low-fat in both pounds lost and body fat reduction. What surprised researchers was the drop in bad cholesterol, and lower levels of fat circulating in their blood.
An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but it looks like having a steak could prevent a heart attack. I’m cool with that.
Overall, you can look at the study and see that people learned to eat better. Is the study an indictment of carbs? A certain kind, yes. Don’t sit around and single-handedly keep a Krispy Kreme open for business.
The low-carb participants ate a healthier profile of proteins, including chicken, fish, nuts and beans.
Essentially, we all know we need to eat better. Whether it’s a strict paleo diet or in general avoid processed junk, you are going to see benefits.
Read the full study here.