It’s hard to believe that scientists are still hashing out the fight between sugars and fats, but after decades of faulty research funded by big names in the sugar industry, it’s been an uphill climb to dispel some of the myths born from industry-funded research. A groundbreaking new study from researchers at Harvard, however, just brought us a whole lot closer to a general consensus on the superiority of low-carb dieting for weight loss. Not only that, but the research demonstrates how a low-carb diet like keto can help to regulate important hormones and prevent your metabolism from slowing down before you reach your weight loss goals.
Valuable New Data Backing the Keto Diet
The study, published in the British Medical Journal, was among the largest and most expensive ever done on the issue of carbohydrate intake and dieting, costing a total of 12 million dollars.1 Hundreds of participants were randomly assigned either a high-carb, medium-carb, or low-carb diet, and the effects were tracked over a period of 20 weeks.
The results? Participants on the low-carb diet burned 209 to 278 kilocalories more per day than those on the high-carb diet.2 Ghrelin and leptin, hormones that regulate hunger and are often partially responsible for long-term weight gain, were at lower levels in the low-carb dieters. What’s more, those participants who, before the trial, were found to have the highest levels of insulin secretion (a strong indicator of insulin resistance and a cause of Type 2 diabetes) burned the most calories on average. All of this, the researchers found, suggested that low-carb dieting was the best way to treat obesity and, most importantly, maintain weight loss in the future.
Setting the Record Straight
The impact of the study has been enormous. Not only has it provided concrete data for the long term effects of low-carb dieting, but it serves to correct significant flaws in the ways other studies are conducted. In one important example, the authors point to a recent meta-analysis (which collects and compares data from several studies) that drew no meaningful distinction between the number of calories burned in low-carb versus low-fat dieting. However, most of the studies used in that analysis were less than two weeks in length, whereas the Harvard scientists argue, “the process of adapting to a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet seems to take at least two or three weeks.”
“A few days, or a couple weeks, is not enough time to make any meaningful conclusion about how diets affect metabolism over the long term,” said Dr. David Ludwig, a Harvard researcher and one of the study’s authors.
Of course, anyone who has wrestled their way through the throes of the keto flu could never forget that little detail, but not every researcher is privy to the process of becoming fat-adapted or able to access the resources required to conduct a study of sufficient length. Make no mistake, the media battle between low-carb and low-fat will continue, but with more and more studies like this being published all the time, the scales of public opinion continue to tip in favor of keto advocates.
The content on this website should not be taken as medical advice and you should ALWAYS consult with your doctor before starting any diet or exercise program. We provide nutritional data for our recipes as a courtesy to our readers. We use Total Keto Diet app software to calculate the nutrition and we remove fiber and sugar alcohols, like erythritol, from the total carbohydrate count to get to the net carb count, as they do not affect your blood glucose levels. You should independently calculate nutritional information on your own and not rely on our data. The website or content herein is not intended to cure, prevent, diagnose or treat any disease. This website shall not be liable for adverse reactions or any other outcome resulting from the use of recipes or recommendations on the Website or actions you take as a result. Any action you take is strictly at your own risk.
- For Keto, the Everyday Research Says it All - March 6, 2019
- Huge Harvard Study Backs Up the Wide-Ranging Benefits of a Low-Carb Diet - February 25, 2019
- Experts Convene for Keto Conference - July 30, 2018