Thanks to a small study funded by the National Institute of Health the low carb diet has made a comeback in recent weeks as “the best way to lose weight”. With only 21 people and a duration of a few weeks, the study, though otherwise well designed, is far from conclusive. Here are tips for figuring out the best way to lose weight for you.
Although many people want to lose weight fast, and low carb diets promise just that, the long term goal is to keep weight off, and, more importantly, improve overall health. Confidence in a bathing suit has a lot of people looking to lose weight fast over the summer, but no matter the motivations, focusing on improving health will support the overall goal of weight loss.
Low carb diets, then, aren’t necessarily the best option. Your brain needs carbohydrates to live, and the ongoing low carb diet fad has led to a recommendation of 135g carbohydrates a day just to support brain function. It’s possible that low carb diets trigger such rapid weight loss because the body is forced to reroute energy to the brain more than it is with a low-glycemic diet or low-fat diet (the two compared to low carb diets in the study).
When deciding the best weight loss plan, it’s also important to remember the word diet refers to your lifestyle, not just a temporary cut in calories. Fast weight loss has to be balanced against sustained weight loss, and cutting too many calories or otherwise stressing the body can result in a slower metabolism, and even on the slimmest calorie load you can end up gaining weight!
As long as you meet the minimum nutrient requirements (all dieters should take a multivitamin to avoid the risk of deficiencies) it doesn’t matter which type of change you make. If you eat an excessive amount of carbohydrates, a low carb diet might be the right choice—for you it just means eating the amount your body needs rather than the amount that was causing problems.
Any fad diet that promises to help you lose weight fast is a scam. It’s ultimately about health, figuring out how to incorporate it into your daily life, and then adapting it as your needs change. That’s the best way to lose weight—and to keep it off.
What do you think? Should people use a fad diet to motivate their life style change, or start with the basics—balancing the food groups and getting all the essential nutrients?