6

votes

Does this Study Really Show a Metabolic Advantage for Low-Carb?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 27, 2012 at 12:15 PM

LOS ANGELES???A calorie is a calorie is a calorie ??? or is it?

By Eryn Brown / Los Angeles Times Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Maybe not, a small study has found. Once the pounds are shed, the proportions of carbohydrates, proteins and fats you chow down on may determine whether you keep the weight off ??? or slowly but surely pack on pounds again.

In an intensive, seven-month experiment during which 21 overweight men and women had their diets strictly controlled down to each last morsel, researchers showed that a traditional low-fat diet seemed to make the metabolism more sluggish than a high-protein one during the most difficult part of weight loss: keeping fat off once it???s shed.

The preliminary work, which was published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, provides support for a growing group of scientists who argue that what people eat may be just as key as how much they eat.

Read Full Article Here

0a0afca93a127c82ec4192a2e99647f4

on June 28, 2012
at 05:55 PM

Please excuse all my typos this week. I have contractors and kids in my home all day, and can't even think straight with all the distractions going on...let alone spell correctly.

0a0afca93a127c82ec4192a2e99647f4

on June 28, 2012
at 05:54 PM

That is a signifgasnt diffeernce in protein intakes. I get so darn frustrated with the guys and gals in white lab coats. Do they not have any common sense? Why can't someone do a good study comparing a WHOLE FOODS high-carb/Low-Fat diet that is high in protein to a WHOLE-FOODS LC diet? We really need to establish if it's less carbs or more protein generating positive results.

0a0afca93a127c82ec4192a2e99647f4

on June 28, 2012
at 05:51 PM

I disagree based on years of experience tracking calories, macros etc as a bodybuilder wannabe kinda guy. I find that on an LC diet I end up eating around 200 grams of protein per day. On a high carb diet that is quite low in fat I still end up eating about 200 grams protein per day without even really trying to.

F0e558010a2ecb31fa37b7c491596b8e

(3850)

on June 28, 2012
at 02:59 PM

Well if you're looking at how most people would utilize the diet, the LC diet would be higher in protein. If you're comparing equal numbers of calories and adding several hundred calories of carbohydrates, you have to take something out.

5e92edc5a180787a60a252a8232006e9

(345)

on June 28, 2012
at 02:08 AM

One problem did come to fore: higher inflammation in the form of increased cortisol and CRP. But the thyroid dysfunction typically takes place some time after. Like Matt Stone said, VLCing is the very best thing to do for the first 9 months of the diet; after that, everything goes haywire. The very inability to sustain a VLC diet is not shown on this test. This is obvious since putting your body under undue stress for 6-9 months will eventually result in hypothyroid symptoms. Meanwhile, you'll feel as if you're burning fat like melting butter. That's the missing picture in this study.

5e92edc5a180787a60a252a8232006e9

(345)

on June 28, 2012
at 02:01 AM

Actually, the bigger problem is that these metabolic advantage metics were measured after 4 weeks. We all know what a VLC diet does: do we not know that it's the most effective form of losing weight fast? The problem is the double edged sword: while losing weight, it puts the dieter under under stress, eventually lowering his T3 and amassing Reverse T3. Typically, these results do not culminate until the subject has been VLCing for 6 months or more. So I don't doubt that the short-term results are stacked in favor of a VLC diet. Why wouldn't it?

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on June 27, 2012
at 05:22 PM

It is an interesting find but the study went for 7 months but the variation in macro nutrients was only introduced for the last 4 weeks of the study. Also, all of the participants were overweight. The study needs to be conducted with more people, of various body make up (not all overweight), and for a longer period to have meaning.

F3fc2e0a9577e7e481a387d917904d1e

(1070)

on June 27, 2012
at 04:17 PM

@Mystery Man, yes I am eagerly awaiting both Colpo's and Guyenet's posts on this study.

0a0afca93a127c82ec4192a2e99647f4

on June 27, 2012
at 03:58 PM

That may have been why stress-hormones were higher. I suspect cortisol would go down once adapted.

0a0afca93a127c82ec4192a2e99647f4

on June 27, 2012
at 01:54 PM

Yes, the higher cortisol and CRP was a wee-bit disturbing, considering LC is often promoted as THE anti-inflammatory diet.

Fdf101349c397fbe1ecb98b310fb3737

(358)

on June 27, 2012
at 01:22 PM

I want to see something about the nature of the fats on the very low carb diet. They said they had more inflammation. It was roughly 40 SFA, 40 MUFA, and 20 PUFA. I wonder what the source was.

276a5e631b62f8e0793987c0496364bb

(1644)

on June 27, 2012
at 12:55 PM

Calories are, at best, a rough approximation that can be helpful for you to get a general idea of how much you're eating.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on June 27, 2012
at 12:45 PM

Calories burned/expended is just as inexact as calories ingested. But on average, it works out to CI/CO.

0a0afca93a127c82ec4192a2e99647f4

on June 27, 2012
at 12:43 PM

A have to wonder what anti "MAD" author, Anthony Colpo will have to say about this study. Or his online "nemesis" regarding this issue, Dr. Eades.

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7 Answers

3
A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on June 27, 2012
at 05:29 PM

First of all, it's not fair to compare protein to fat or carbs. There is the thermal effect of food, which is higher for protein, which means nearly 25% of the calories ingested are lost. Then, only a couple of amino acids can be burned directly in the Krebs cycle. In order to burn protein, gluconeogenesis must occur - more lost energy.

That doesn't even get into the hormaonal effects of different macro ratios. Hormones that regulate metabolism and appetite, for example.

Is there a metabolic advantage to a LC diet? Yes, but it is small. The real advantage for someone trying to lose weight is the hunger supressing effect of protein and, if ketogenic, the anorectic effect of a keto diet. Not wanting to eat the house is the REAL advantage of low carb.

3
F73ced37d7ecb15c2f026c2649cd560f

on June 27, 2012
at 03:35 PM

The study was 4 weeks, not 7 months. Barely time for the body to get keto adapted. Google JAMA then go to their page and read the study for yourself.

0a0afca93a127c82ec4192a2e99647f4

on June 27, 2012
at 03:58 PM

That may have been why stress-hormones were higher. I suspect cortisol would go down once adapted.

2
43f469552cfd3be73fc88a9821b14986

on June 27, 2012
at 12:26 PM

It points to one, sure.

But it is not calories in and calories out. A calorie burned is a calorie burned, is a calorie burned.

But a calorie ingested, is not a calorie ingested. There is insulin, ghrelin and leptin sensitivity. For many people that is more important than calories. Calories are a tool invented in the 1830s where they burn foods and chemicals to measure heat and radiation eminating from the burned food. Burning the food in fire may have little correlation with the metabolic/sating effects of the food.

So yes, calories count. But that doesn't mean you have to count them.

0a0afca93a127c82ec4192a2e99647f4

on June 27, 2012
at 12:43 PM

A have to wonder what anti "MAD" author, Anthony Colpo will have to say about this study. Or his online "nemesis" regarding this issue, Dr. Eades.

276a5e631b62f8e0793987c0496364bb

(1644)

on June 27, 2012
at 12:55 PM

Calories are, at best, a rough approximation that can be helpful for you to get a general idea of how much you're eating.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on June 27, 2012
at 12:45 PM

Calories burned/expended is just as inexact as calories ingested. But on average, it works out to CI/CO.

F3fc2e0a9577e7e481a387d917904d1e

(1070)

on June 27, 2012
at 04:17 PM

@Mystery Man, yes I am eagerly awaiting both Colpo's and Guyenet's posts on this study.

0
5dd50f78f47b8848d93724d6eb38d4c1

on June 28, 2012
at 11:00 AM

Its bogus. 20% protein for the 2 other diets but 30% for the low carb. Protein has a higher themogenic effect so it was obviously going to produce better results. Yet somehow they didn't even mention it and just declared it was the low card aspect of the diet that done the magic. I do want to read the actually study though which I haven't been able to find.

0a0afca93a127c82ec4192a2e99647f4

on June 28, 2012
at 05:55 PM

Please excuse all my typos this week. I have contractors and kids in my home all day, and can't even think straight with all the distractions going on...let alone spell correctly.

0a0afca93a127c82ec4192a2e99647f4

on June 28, 2012
at 05:54 PM

That is a signifgasnt diffeernce in protein intakes. I get so darn frustrated with the guys and gals in white lab coats. Do they not have any common sense? Why can't someone do a good study comparing a WHOLE FOODS high-carb/Low-Fat diet that is high in protein to a WHOLE-FOODS LC diet? We really need to establish if it's less carbs or more protein generating positive results.

0
0a0afca93a127c82ec4192a2e99647f4

on June 27, 2012
at 11:20 PM

I have not had time to actually look at this study. But I do know that a flaw with many studies showing purported advantages for LC vs. LF diets is failure to match protein intakes. So we can't really know if it was the absence of carbs per-se, or simply the high protein intake that generated better results. Alan Aragon has been critical of paleo for this reason (Among others) - for instance, he points out that the study which compared Paleo to "Mediterranean" diet failed to match protein intakes. He seems to feel that if protein is kept high, there is NOT that big a difference between lower-fat vs. lower-carb diets.

I know many bodybuilders do well on low-fat/high-protein diets. At least the young ones.

Anyways...wazzz up with the protein in this study? Was the LF also pathetically low in protein?

F0e558010a2ecb31fa37b7c491596b8e

(3850)

on June 28, 2012
at 02:59 PM

Well if you're looking at how most people would utilize the diet, the LC diet would be higher in protein. If you're comparing equal numbers of calories and adding several hundred calories of carbohydrates, you have to take something out.

0a0afca93a127c82ec4192a2e99647f4

on June 28, 2012
at 05:51 PM

I disagree based on years of experience tracking calories, macros etc as a bodybuilder wannabe kinda guy. I find that on an LC diet I end up eating around 200 grams of protein per day. On a high carb diet that is quite low in fat I still end up eating about 200 grams protein per day without even really trying to.

0
64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on June 27, 2012
at 03:12 PM

Does anyone have a link to the actual paper?

0
7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on June 27, 2012
at 01:07 PM

While the study showed that REE/TEE was higher for those doing the LC maintenance diet, it also showed some unfavorable changes, like increased cortisol and CRP levels. But ... this was a pretty small study (21 participants).

And re "diets strictly controlled down to each last morsel," I'm skeptical. Were these really three-month long met ward studies?

Based on what my Twitter feed looked like yesterday, I think we'll see a lot of folks digging in to the full study.Will be interesting to see what they tease out.

0a0afca93a127c82ec4192a2e99647f4

on June 27, 2012
at 01:54 PM

Yes, the higher cortisol and CRP was a wee-bit disturbing, considering LC is often promoted as THE anti-inflammatory diet.

Fdf101349c397fbe1ecb98b310fb3737

(358)

on June 27, 2012
at 01:22 PM

I want to see something about the nature of the fats on the very low carb diet. They said they had more inflammation. It was roughly 40 SFA, 40 MUFA, and 20 PUFA. I wonder what the source was.

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