Cutting carbohydrates is not only effective for weight control. A study conducted on 125,000 adults emphasized the importance of replacing refined carbohydrates such as white bread with whole grains and reducing animal-based fats. The shift from refined carbs to high-quality carbs appeared to curb weight gain over four years. Dr. Qi Sun, the senior author of the study, stressed that quality matters and choosing whole grains over refined carbs is crucial for effective weight management.
What’s in a high-quality carbohydrate diet?
Recent research has focused on the impact of food choices on weight gain over time, revealing that certain dietary components can influence weight management. Choosing whole grains such as oatmeal, whole grain pasta, and bread, along with fats from vegetable oils (excluding tropical oils high in saturated fats) and plant-based proteins from beans, nuts, and soy, is linked to slower weight gain. Incorporating fruits and vegetables while avoiding refined grains, red meats, and saturated fats can significantly impact long-term weight management.
Dr. Qi Sun and colleagues delved into databases, including the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, assessing over 123,000 participants with no chronic health issues. The focus was on dietary quality, categorizing individuals into groups based on their dietary scores: animal-based low-carbohydrate diet (ALCD), vegetable-based low-carbohydrate diet (VLCD), healthy low-carbohydrate diet (HLCD), and unhealthy low-carbohydrate diet (ULCD).
Improvements in diet quality correlated with lesser weight gain over the four-year study period. The healthy low-carb group with enhanced diet scores gained 2.1 pounds less on average compared to those with the least improvement. Notably, diets emphasizing animal proteins showed faster weight gain, emphasizing the significance of quality in low-carb diets.
Dr. Sahar Takkouche, an obesity expert, highlights the importance of healthier choices for better weight management, stressing that even healthy options can turn unhealthy based on preparation. While the study underlines the significance of a low-carb diet, it stresses the importance of food choices within this framework. However, limitations exist, including the predominantly white female participant pool, potentially impacting the generalizability of findings, and the reliance on self-reported data for dietary and weight information, which may introduce biases.
Nevertheless, this research fills a gap in understanding the impact of specific foods within a low-carb diet on long-term weight control, offering insights into crafting a healthy low-carb dietary approach for effective weight management, as noted by Samaneh Farsijani, a registered dietician.
This article was originally published on NBCNews.com