Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Dieting: Nutrient Composition Probably Less Important than On-Going Low vs. High Carb Debate Suggests

In a soon to be published study Kerksick, et.al. (Kerksick. 2010) investigated the effect of 6 dietary regimens on weight loss in 141 obese women (38.7 +/- 8.0 yrs, 163.3 +/- 6.9 cm, 93.2 +/- 16.5 kg, 35.0 +/- 6.2 kg*m-2, 44.8 +/- 4.2 % fat). Interestingly, the members of all groups with restricted dietary intake + exercise achieved similar rates of weight loss (cf. Figure 1)
Figure 1: Changes in weight for High Energy Diet (HED), No Diet (ND), Very Low Carbohydrate High Protein Diet (VLCHP), Low Carbohydrate Moderate Protein Diet (LCMP), High Carbohydrate Low Protein Diet and no diet + no exercise Control (CON)
What I consider most important, though, is the statistical spread of the results. For me this confirms what I have been telling people over and over: There is no "one solution fits it all", it is quite obvious that - from a metabolic point of view - the low insulin level on low carb diets is a major plus (I am a low, but not no-carber, myself). Eating little to no carbs, on the other hand, just does not work out for some, so that they may eventually end up gaining weight instead of losing it (cf. Figure 1).

Bottom line: If you want to lose weight (not fat if you are already lean), eat less calories than you need, exercise and make sure you get proper amounts of nutrients (protein, fats, vitamins and minerals).