The Journal of the American Medical Association released a report this month that shows that the Low-Glycemic Index Diets are the best to keep the weight down.  This has to do with the fact that apparently, not all calories are created equal.  That is, the source of the calorie gives it a certain “quality” that affects how efficiently we burn energy.

When it comes to weight loss maintenance, evidence shows that most people can lose weight, but end up gaining it back.  The problem is that as we lose the weight the body needs less calories to maintain itself i.e. we spend less energy.  Ironically, this makes it likely easier to gain the weight back.  The goal is to maintain a diet that will help burn the highest amounts of calories to help maintain the weight loss.

Different diets help us burn calories at different rates.  According the studies,

  1. The low-carbohydrate diets help burn the most calories but have unintended negative side effects like inflammation and increase in the stress hormone Cortisol (both adversely affect risk for heart disease and diabetes).
  2. The low-glycemic diet is next after the low-carb diet in its ability to stimulate calorie consumption (i.e. 150 calories a day burned over those in a low-fat diet) and does not have the side effects.  Therefore, is considered the most effective in helping keep the weight down.
  3. The low-fat diet burns the least amount of the three types discussed here.  Actually considered the least healthy.  It can produce certain metabolic changes associated with regaining the weight.

The low-glycemic diet is structured based on the following calorie sources:

  • 40% Carbohydrates (healthy carbohydrates)
  • 40% Fats
  • 20% Protein

“There is a growing feeling that we need to go beyond low-fat diets, that was too simplistic a vision”, said Dr. David Ludwig one of the study’s author from Boston Children’s Hospital. “instead, focus on reducing highly processed carbohydrates” . Highly processed carbs make sugar easily accessible to the system rather than securing it in more health elements i.e. fiber in fruits.  When the sugar is easily available to the system it causes a sugar rush with a subsequent crash that stimulates hunger and jeopardizes the diet.

As in most studies and theories, there are opinions on both sides.  Although the most efficient to maintain weight loss, some researcher say the low-glycemic index diet do not have the best nutrition standards.  Others say the diet concept is too confusing and hard to maintain in the long term.  In the end, they all agree that balanced diets that eliminate junk food in favor of healthy ones is the best choice.  Moreover, it comes down to math; eat less calories than you can burn in a day through exercise.  That seems to be simplest and the best advice to keep a healthy weight.


JAMA, June 2012

WSJ, June 26, 2012

ABC News June 26, 2012



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