One of the most common questions patients ask me is, “Doc, what’s the best way to lose weight?”
For years, I’ve recommended a diet low in complex carbohydrates. And several brand-new studies only serve to reinforce my opinion.
Here’s a quick review of this new research…
Cutting Calories Could Pack on the Pounds
If you’ve ever counted calories to lose weight, you know hard it is. Now there’s proof it may doom your diet to failure, too.
A study – soon to be published in Psychosomatic Medicine – found calorie restriction is so stressful, it increases cortisol production.1 And that’s where cutting calories goes wrong.
Cortisol – the stress hormone – triggers the so-called “fight or flight” response. It also comes into play when your body thinks there’s a food shortage. That’s why cortisol has been linked to increased “belly fat.”2 And why just cutting calories doesn’t work very well.
The sudden drop in calories tells your body there’s a food shortage. And it responds by trying to pack on the fat. So the stress of cutting calories could actually make your weight problem worse.
But another new study offers an approach that works.
Get More Than Just Thinner
While most doctors still push low-fat diets, I don’t believe they’re as healthy – or as effective – as a low-carbohydrate approach. Both low-fat and low-carb diets work. But most studies I’ve seen show that low-carb diets promote greater weight loss.3
And some studies have found that low-fat diets don’t help normalize blood lipids (fats such as cholesterol and triglycerides) as well as a low-carb diet.3
But a new study compared people on a low-fat diet and diet pills to people on a low-carb diet only. Both groups lost about the same amount of weight. But the low-carb group wound up with a bonus: A much bigger drop in blood pressure.4
Plus, they saved the cost of those pricey diet pills.
But women switching to a low-carb diet may be saving a lot more than money.
The Best Diet for Your Heart?
Most of us grew up with the idea that a low-fat diet was best for everyone’s hearts. But an Italian study of more than 47,700 men and women shows this may not be true.
These researchers found that high-glycemic carbohydrates had a significant impact on women’s risk of heart problems. In fact, women who ate the most of these carbs had double the risk of heart trouble of those who ate the least!5
Meet the Slimmer, Sexier You
One last advantage of losing weight the low-carb way is that it’s natural. For a quarter of a million years, human bodies developed eating the lean meat we hunted and the vegetables, fruits and nuts we foraged.
Complex carbohydrates like grains are a fairly modern – and unnatural – addition to our diets. Many of my patients tell me that they feel lighter and more energetic as soon as they cut the carbs.
These studies simply back up what our bodies have known all along. That eating the natural human diet helps us become thinner and healthier more easily.
Dr. Kenneth Woliner, M.D.
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