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You have probably heard the news stories on the new study that was just published in the New England Journal of Medicine comparing 4 different weight loss diets. If not, check out the study yourself.
The study was a pretty large trial and the goal was to examine if there were differences between a diet that was different in carbs or protein or fat. All participants were encouraged to exercise 90 minutes weekly and to participate in individual and group counseling. They were also instructed to keep an online food diary. They were counseled to cut out about 750 calories per day from their previous dietary habits.
The results basically found that there was no difference between the 4 groups. In order words, it didn't matter whether they ate high carb, lower protein, and lower fat or lower carb, higher protein, and moderate fat.
The basic message: It is total calories that count most, not just the composition of the diet. While this may seem like a logical conclusion, I think it helps to bring home the message that it really is most about calories in vs. calories out.
If you prefer to reduce your carbs and eat a little bit more protein, great! If you like your carbs but aren't big on protein, that could also work for you (as long as you get 0.8 grams of protein per kg of body weight). In either case, just make sure that your total calories are still lower than what you burn. Up your calories that you burn and you don't have to restrict quite as much.
Another interesting finding was that all of the dieters reported the same levels of satiety (fullness) and satisfaction. I have read numerous studies that protein makes you feel more full, but this study found no difference. I am still a believer in making sure you have adequate protein, not just for muscle and cell repair, but to also feel full enough from your meals and snacks.