Losing Weight: Less Ultra-Processed Foods with High Glycemic Index
The quality of food counts more than the number of calories, according to a study.
Why it’s important
A study published February 20, 2018 calls into question a basic principle of most diets: eat fewer calories. According to this study, it is the quality of what you swallow, more than quantity, which helps people lose weight and remain permanently thin.
What the researchers found
In this study, people who reduced added sugars, refined grains and ultra-processed foods while eating lots of vegetables and whole foods – regardless of calorie counting or serving limits – lost a lot in one year. These people have lost weight, whether on a low-fat or low-carb diet. These results do not appear to be influenced by their genetic makeup or insulin level in response to carbohydrate ingestion, which calls into question the idea that different diets should be advised based on genetics or tolerance to carbohydrates or with fatty substances.
The study, which received $ 8 million in public funding, was conducted by Christopher D. Gardner (Stanford University). It was designed to compare a low carb diet with a low fat diet in more than 600 overweight and obese people.Researchers also wanted to test the hypothesis that some people respond better to one or the other diet depending on their genetics and ability to metabolize carbohydrates and fats.
Members of both groups attended dietetic classes where they learned how to select whole foods that were unprocessed, healthy, home-cooked whenever possible.For example, dieticians have asked members of the “low-fat” group to avoid soft drinks, fruit juices, white rice and white bread, which are low in fat, but have high glycemic index and load. They were asked to eat foods such as wholegrain rice, whole grain cereals, pulses, lean meats, lean dairy products, quinoa, fresh fruit.
The low carb group was formed to choose nutritionally dense foods such as olive oil, salmon, avocados, hard cheeses, vegetables, nuts and foods of animal origin.
The new study stands out from many weight loss clinical trials because it did not impose any restrictive limits on carbohydrates, fats or calories, and focused primarily on the consumption of true foods, rather than false ultra-processed foods.
” We really insisted that we wanted members of both groups to eat quality food ,” says Dr. Gardner. ” We told everyone we wanted them to minimize added sugar and refined grains and eat more vegetables and whole foods. We told them, ‘Do not go buy a low-fat cookie just because it’s low in fat. Ditto for low-carb foods. “
On average, members of the low-carb group lost 6 kg after one year, while those in the low-fat group lost about 5.3 kg. The difference was not significant. It should be noted that calorie consumption and glycemic load decreased in both groups.
Both groups also found improvements in other markers of health: waistline, body fat, blood glucose and blood pressure.
The researchers analyzed genetic variants that influence the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates. But none seemed to influence plan responses.
Similarly, the level of insulin secretion in response to carbohydrate intake – a marker of insulin resistance – had no influence on the effectiveness of the low carb diet, which is surprising.
Studies to date show that a low carbohydrate diet causes a little more weight loss than a low fat diet, perhaps because this type of diet leads to swallowing fewer ultra-processed foods, sweet, high glycemic load.
Be that as it may, the results of this new study are an invitation to health authorities and nutritionists who advise the general public, to focus less on calories and rather to encourage people to avoid ultra-processed foods, those based on refined starches such as white bread and added sugar, and foods with a high glycemic index.
The message to remember is that a quality diet can lead to substantial weight loss, regardless of the relative share of fats and carbohydrates. This is precisely the message of the French researcher Anthony Fardet, author of ” Stop ultra-processed foods “, which considers that we must ” end the reductionism that consists in seeing food in the angle of carbohydrates, fats, proteins “as the public authorities continue to do, their Nutri-Score and applications that use the Nutri-Score .