Low-carb diets have stolen the spotlight over the last decade in the quick weight loss category, but are they a good solution for keeping excess pounds off for good? A family friend strictly follows a low-carb diet and I’ve always been skeptical of his strategy, but seeing him maintain his leaner physique for 3 years left me wondering if this was just a fluke, or if research actually existed to back it up.
Last month, Marion Vetter and her team of researchers released the results of a 36-month long comparison study in which obese adults followed either a low-carbohydrate or low-fat, weight loss diet. At 6 months, participants lost more weight on a low-carb diet than the on a low-fat diet, but by 12 months, weight loss was nearly identical between the groups. After 3 years, Vetter’s team found that participants who lost the most weight initially had gained the most weight back, but ultimately, the losses and gains resulted in moderate 4-9 pound weight loss for all participants.
Vetter’s research, like other recent studies, shows that whatever your strategy for weight loss, the key to maintaining that weight loss is to eat foods you enjoy while keeping within your budget for daily calorie intake. To find out how many calories you need try using this Healthy Body Calculator. Ultimately, maintaining a healthy weight is more about the calories you take in from food (balanced by those you burn during exercise) than which foods supply the calories. Keep in mind that eating a nutritious and balanced diet will reap higher rewards in overall health and wellness in the long run.
And that family friend? Well, the key to any diet is being able to stick to it, and clearly eating low carb is a diet worked for him. If you’ve found a diet that works for you – as long as you are not skimping on nutrients – then stay the course.