For the first part of the study, volunteers ate a starting diet designed to keep their weight steady and even out their metabolism.
And what we found was that indeed, if you cut carbs, insulin goes down, fat burning by the body goes up, and you lose fat. The other interesting thing we saw was that the reduced-carb diet led to a significant decrease in calorie burn compared to when people were eating the baseline diet. Whereas if you cut carbohydrates, insulin goes down, fat burning goes up, the number of calories that you burn goes down slightly. Q: This isna€™t really very natural at all, because when people go on low-carb diets, usually, they dona€™t worry about total calories so much as cutting carbs. A:A One of the things about low-carb diets is that because carbs typically make up about half of what people are eating in the first place, when they target carbs to cut them out of their diets, they end up targeting the most calories. Another argument has been that when youa€™re eating a low-fat diet, youa€™re choosing different carbs and those have an effect on insulin. Q: So if you could cut fat out of your diet without adding more carbs or sugar to make up for it, in theory, you could burn more fat, overall, than if you just cut carbs.
Q: Do you think ita€™s even possible for real people to take these results and apply them to their lives? What I would say is that the reasons why people have often claimed that low-carb diets work, we tried to dig in a little bit and try to understand the sciencea€”that is if you cut carbs and reduce insulin, it should have some sort of metabolic advantage.A This study shows definitively that this is not the case.
Q: What kinds of foods might we be treated to if we enrolled in a study at the NIH metabolism lab? The opinions expressed in WebMD Second Opinion are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. Insights and analysis on the latest health news and trends brought to you by WebMDa€™s doctors and award-winning news team.
Subscribe to the WebMD Daily, and you'll get today's top health news and trending topics, and the latest and best information from WebMD. Subscribe to the Men's Health newsletter for the latest on disease prevention, fitness, sex, nutrition, and more from WebMD. Subscribe to the Women's Health newsletter for the latest on disease prevention, fitness, sex, diet, anti-aging, and more from WebMD. This careful collection of body gasses and fluids allows researchers to precisely measure how many calories people are burning and what those calories come froma€”carbohydrates, fat, or protein. That diet was made up of 50% carbohydrate, 35% fat, and 15% protein.A For the next six days, they ate a diet with 30% fewer calories. People lost more total fat on the low-fat diet than they did when they were eating the low-carb diet. Perhaps the most surprising thing was when you cut fat from the diet, nothing happens to the number of fat calories youa€™re burning, nothing happens to insulin, and in fact, if you look at the difference between the fat eaten and fat burned, both diets led to fat loss, but the reduced-fat diet led to slightly more fat loss. I think that the most interesting part of our study is that when you cut fat from the diet, nothing happens to the amount of fat that the body burns. So is the effect because of the cutting of the calories or the cutting of the carbs in particular?
We specifically didna€™t want that to happen in this study, so we made sure the sugar content of the reduced-fat diet was the same as the starting diet.
But one of the things we found is that when we cut carbs from the diet, peoplea€™s metabolism slowed down by about 100 calories a day. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on WebMD. On the low-carb diet, all those calories were cut by reducing carbs, while protein and fat stayed constant. We spoke to study author Kevin Hall, PhD, a senior investigator in the laboratory of biological modeling at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases,A who explained why.
Ita€™s like it doesna€™t even sense that youa€™ve just cut this stick of butter out of your diet.
We as researchers have a very difficult time measuring what people eat, even when they come into the lab.
It may explain that when people are prescribed these diets, people on low-carb diets do tend to lose more weight and fat, at least for the first six months. Some of these opinions may contain information about treatments or uses of drug products that have not been approved by the U.S.
You should always speak with your doctor before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your care plan or treatment. On the low-fat diet, all those calories were cut by eliminating fat, while protein and carbs stayed steady. In other words, cutting specifically fat or specifically carbs — How does the body adapt to that?
Thata€™s another reason why the reduced fat diet led to greater fat loss than the reduced carb diet. So I think applying this to real life, to peoplea€™s day-to-day lives where theya€™re presented with opportunities to eat all different kinds of foods, nutrition labels arena€™t 100 percent accurate, so I think ita€™s a mistake to translate this in that sense. But basically by the end of six or seven days on those diets, people were not salivating to see that same sandwich again for lunch. WebMD understands that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified health care provider. At the end of the day, is there any net difference in body fat changes when you make equal calorie cuts?
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