Losing weight is challenging, and keeping it off is even harder. But a new study sheds light on a path to success. Researchers at the Harvard-affiliated Boston Children’s Hospital tested three different diets for maintaining weight loss and found that restricting carbs works best because it increases natural calorie burning and helps to control hunger.
The study enrolled 164 people, ages 18 to 65, who had recently lost 10 percent of their bodyweight. For the next 20 weeks, researchers put them on one of the three diets: a high (60 percent), moderate (40 percent), or low (20 percent) carbohydrate diet. All diets contained the same number of calories.
People on the low-carb diet burned 209-278 more calories than those on the high-carb diet. The difference was even greater among those with the highest insulin levels at the start of the study: up to 478 more calories per day. Hormone tests showed that the low-carb diet also lowered levels of hunger hormones.