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The Biggest Loser FAIL and That Ketogenic Study Success

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This week, splashed all over the New York Times, was an article about a paper written by Kevin Hall, a senior researcher at the National Institutes of Health. It was published in Obesity and titled “Persistent metabolic adaptation 6 years after ‘The Biggest Loser competition“. This generated a lot of hand-wringing about the futility of weight loss.

NYT: After ‘The Biggest Loser,’ Their Bodies Fought to Regain Weight

The study, along with another study presented by Kevin Hall seemed to generate more anxiety about the insulin hypothesis being dead. Of course, both these studies fit in perfectly with the hormonal view of obesity and reinforces once again the futility of following the Caloric Reduction as Primary approach. You could review my 50ish part series on Hormonal Obesity if you want a more in-depth view.

So, let’s dive in an explain the findings of both of Dr. Hall’s excellent papers. His conclusions, well, let’s just say I don’t agree with them. The studies, though, were very well done. Continue Reading →

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Professor Ludwig vs. Stephan Guyenet on Insulin vs. Calories

Is our weight mostly controlled by hormones or by the brain? Is it about normalizing our fat-storing hormones (mainly insulin) or is it just about deciding not to overeat?

The second answer has been the most commonly believed one, and it’s been a giant failure. We need new ideas that actually work. So we need to find the truth.

The old arguments in this interminable debate are nicely packaged by the formerly popular blogger Stephan Guyenet, PhD, at Whole Health Source: Always Hungry? It’s Probably Not Your Insulin

As a reply Professor David Ludwig just published this: Ludwig Responds to Whole Health Source Article

Who wins?

So who wins? The way I see it they are both wrong, but Professor Ludwig is much less wrong.  Continue Reading →

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Low Carb Best for Weight Loss in Yet Another New Meta Analysis

What diet should you choose to lose weight? Low carb or low fat?

Another new review of all the best studies – over six months or longer – shows the same result as earlier trials: Low carb results in more weight loss.

British Journal of Nutrition: Effects of low-carbohydrate diets v. low-fat diets on body weight and cardiovascular risk factors: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials

When it comes to cholesterol low carb performs better in two measurements and worse in one. Low-carb diets result on average in slightly higher LDL cholesterol but a better profile with more beneficial HDL cholesterol and lower triglycerides (also good). Again, no surprises.

An extra 5 pounds – or more

Regarding weight loss some people will argue that the extra 2.2 kilos (about 5 pounds) lost on low carb is not that great an advantage. But remember that this is the average of every person in long randomized trials (6 months+) where very many people, regardless of diet, soon return to old habits. This is just human nature. For example, not many people manage to give up smoking on the first attempt.

In other words, the extra 5 pounds lost on low carb is the average for people following, or not following, a low-carb diet. Presumably the people actually doing the diet during the full trials did way better on average.

Also remember that people can and do lose weight on a low-fat, low-calorie diet too. It’s just harder and takes more effort and willpower. The likely underestimated 5 pounds is on top of the weight loss of the low fat diet groups.

Bottom line: According to all high-quality studies people on average lose more weight on low carb, even when not counting calories or trying to restrict food intake. Pretty fantastic.

Try it

Check out our low-carb guide or two-week low-carb challenge. They’re completely free.

Continue Reading →

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The Death of the Low-Fat Diet (Again)

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The low-fat diet just died. Again. Science has already pretty much confirmed it’s useless for improving heart health. Now it’s confirmed that it’s bad advice for losing weight as well.

A just-published article in the prestigious journal The Lancet summarizes all major scientific trials on losing weight on low fat. The conclusion? There’s no evidence that low-fat helps to lose weight, compared to any other diet advice.

In fact, giving any other diet advice tends to be better, with people given the opposite advice (low carb, higher fat) in studies losing significantly MORE weight.

The only situation where the low fat looks decent is when comparing it to no diet at all. I.e. a low-fat diet might be less bad than eating donuts and pizza. Not really a surprise. But when choosing a diet for weight loss, low fat looks like the worst option.

Media

The study:

Conclusion

The low-fat diet is dead. All the last decades of fat phobic advice managed to do was make people hungry, eat more bad carbs, and make the obesity epidemic worse. Time to move on.

A better way

Are you ready for better weight-loss advice? You can find it right here: How to Lose Weight

Do you want to try a low-carb diet? Here’s your guides: LCHF for Beginners / Low-Carb Foods Guide

Continue Reading →

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Low-Carb Diet Best for Weight Loss, According to yet Another New Review

A low-carb diet is the most effective dietary choice to lose weight – in fact there’s a 99% probability that someone will do better on low carb, compared to other diets. And the risk factors for heart disease also improve more than on low-fat diets. That’s the findings of yet another published review of the science:

Sceptics will rightly point out that the review was supported financially by Atkins Nutritionals, so this specific paper is clearly less trustworthy than other similar earlier reviews and studies without such ties. Like these:

It apparently does not matter who funds the study. A low-carb diet has won comparative studies more than 20 times and never lost to low-fat. Not once. That’s 20+ to zero.

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The Best Diets in Real Life? First Atkins, then Paleo and Dukan, Apparently

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What are the best diets for losing weight in real life?

Withings, the makers of wireless scales, recently polled their users about what kind of diet – if any – they were following. They then correlated this information with the actual weight lost on the scale.

The results? Overall Atkins came in as the most effective diet, followed by Paleo and Dukan. Three low-carb diets at the top of all other diets… about the same as more rigorous scientific trials show.

Withings: Which diet will work for you?

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“Diet Advice That Ignores Hunger” – Gary Taubes Answers His Critics in NYT

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If you want to lose weight, should you avoid fat or carbs? Recently a six-day long and artificial study was heralded by some as the final word on the topic (“avoid fat”). Even though much longer, bigger and more lifelike trials usually give the opposite result (“avoid carbs”).

Science journalist Gary Taubes has long championed the low-carb approach and obviously he does not agree that this six-day trial is the final word. Here’s his new opinion piece in The New York Times:

NYT: Diet Advice That Ignores Hunger

I wrote about the study two weeks ago, and basically bring up the same two main things – this study is very short and it ignores hunger. The participants were locked up and had no choice but to starve. In that situation any starvation diet will do.

If you’re not locked up you’d want a diet that reduces hunger so much that you do not even need to count calories (like low carb).

The thing that Taubes does not bring up is the real trick of the study. The low-carb group burned through their limited glycogen stores during the short study (that’s why they lost more weight). Once the glycogen is gone – after a few days – there’s no choice but to start burning even more fat. Quite a convenient time to stop the study, right?

It’s amusing that to finally “prove” that a low-fat diet works best for weight loss you have to…

  1. Lock people up so they can be starved,
  2. stop the trial after just six days, and…
  3. not care that they actually lost less weight.

If that’s your proof then consider me not so impressed.

Earlier

Did a Low-Fat Diet Result in More Fat Loss?

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