NEW YORK – Bacon and black coffee for breakfast, or oats and bananas?
If you are planning to lose weight in 2019, you will surely find a fierce debate online and between friends and family about how best to do it. Everybody seems to have an opinion, and new trends appear each year.
Two large studies last year provided more fuel for a particularly polarizing topic – the role carbohydrates play in making us obese. Studies have given scientists some clues, but like other nutritional studies, they can not say which diet – if it is – is best for everyone.
It will not satisfy people who want black and white responses, but the dietary research is extremely difficult, and even the most respected studies come with great warnings. People are so different that it's all impossible to conduct studies that show what really works for long periods of time.
Before starting a weight loss plan for the new year, here is to look at some of what was learned last year.
GOOD CARBIERS, NON-WINNING POINTS?
It's no longer called Diet Atkins, but the school with low carbohydrate diet enjoys returning. The idea is that purified carbohydrates in foods like white bread quickly turn into sugar in our bodies, leading to energy swings and hunger.
By cutting carbohydrates, the claim is that weight loss will be easier because your body instead of burning fuel for fuel while feeling less hungry. A recent study seems to offer more support for low-carbon proponents. But like many other studies, he tried to understand only one part of the work of the body.
The study, led by a book author for promoting low-carb diets, looked at whether different levels of carbohydrates could affect how the body uses energy. Among the 164 participants, they found that those on a low-carb diet had burned more calories in a state of rest than those with high-carbohydrate diets.
The study did not say people were losing weight on a low-carb diet – and did not try to measure it. Meals and snacks were strictly controlled and continuously adjusted so that the weights of everyone remained stable.
David Ludwig, lead author of a paper and research at the Boston Children's Hospital, said he suggested that carbohydrate restriction could make it easier for people to lose weight after losing it. He said access could work best for those with diabetes or pre-diabetes.
Ludwig stressed that the study was not designed to test long-term health effects or scenarios in the real world, where people feed themselves. The conclusions should also be replicated to be confirmed, he said.
Caroline Apowian of the Boston Medical School said that the findings are interesting food for the scientific community, but that they should not be taken as advice for the average person who wants to lose weight.
Do I avoid fat to be scarce?
For years, people have been advised to prevent fat that is found in food, including meat, nuts, eggs, butter and oil. Cutting fat is seen as a way to control body weight, because grams of fat have twice as many calories of the same amount of carbohydrates or proteins.
Many say that the advice has had the opposite effect by inadvertently granting us a license to lubricate fats without cookies, cakes and other foods that are now blamed for our wider halves rather than full of refined carbohydrates and sugars.
Experts on nutrition gradually moved away from recommendations to limit fat loss. Fats are essential for the absorption of important nutrients and can help us feel full. That does not mean that you need to stay on steak in butter to be healthy.
Bruce J. Lee, a professor of international health at Johns Hopkins, said the lessons learned from the anti-fat whim should be applied to an anti-carbic fad: do not exaggerate the advice.
"It has a permanent look for an easy way," said Lee.
Who is better?
Another major study in the past year has shown that low-carb diets and low-fat diets are equally effective for weight loss. The results are different from the individual, but after a year, people in both groups cast an average of 12 to 13 pounds.
The author notes that the findings do not contradict Ludwig's low hydrology study. Instead, they suggest that there may be some flexibility in the ways in which we can lose weight. Participants in both groups were encouraged to focus on minimally processed foods such as meat production and prepared at home. Everyone was advised to limit added sugar and refined flour.
"If you have that foundation right, for many it will be a huge change," says Chris Gardner of Stanford University and one of the authors of the study.
Restriction of processed foods can improve most diets by reducing total calories while still leaving room for people's preference. It is important, because for a diet to be effective, one person must be able to stick to it. Breakfast from fruit and oatmeal can be refilled for one person, but leave it as soon as possible hungry.
Gardner notes that the study had its limitations. Diets of the participants were not controlled. Instead, people were given instructions on how to eat low carbon or low-fat meals at regular meetings with dietitians, which can provide a support network that most diets do not have.
JKO, WHAT DOES IT WORK?
In the short term, you may probably lose weight by eating only raw food, or you go to a vegan or cut gluten, or follow another eating plan that catches your eye. But what will work for you in the long run is another matter.
Zhaoing Li, director of the Department of Clinical Nutrition at the University of California, Los Angeles, says there is no single set of guidelines that help everyone lose weight and retain it. That's why diets often fail – they do not take into account the many factors that lead us to eat what we do.
To help people lose weight, Lee examines the routines for eating and the physical activity of their patients to identify improvements that people can live with.
"What sticks is what matters," Lee said.