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Much has been written about a good diet though we still have some niggling questions on what to eat and what to avoid. Now, finally, we have the perfect diet â€“ one that is high in protein and low in carbohydrate .
A high protein, low carbohydrate diet is most effective in promoting weight loss, at least in the short term, a new study has found.
Under the study, by scientists at Aberdeen’s Rowett Research Institute, healthy, obese men were given two different diets – both had a high protein content (30 percent of total energy value) but differed in the amount of carbohydrate.
One diet was low in carbohydrate (four percent) and the other contained a moderate amount of carbohydrate (35 percent).
The volunteers, who found both diets palatable, felt less hungry on the high protein, low carbohydrate diet compared with the diet which contained high protein but moderate amounts of carbohydrate, said Alex Johnstone who led the study.
“Weight loss during the two four week study periods was greater on the high protein, low carbohydrate diet, averaging 6.3 kg per person, compared with 4.3 kg on the moderate carbohydrate diet,” said Johnstone.
The study also looked at the physiological mechanisms behind such diets, reported sciencedaily.com.
It is known that when people eat low carbohydrate diets, their bodies switch from using glucose as a fuel to using ketone bodies that are appetite suppressing. It’s also well known that protein itself is good at making people feel full up.
“In this study, we showed that on the high-protein low-carbohydrate diet the volunteers became ketogenic within one-two days of starting this diet and so it may be that high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets are particularly effective because of the combined effect of the protein and the ketone bodies,” said Johnstone.
“We showed that the volunteers on the ketogenic diet reduced their energy intake without increasing their hunger and this was a very important factor in their ability to stick to the diet,” she said.
But Johnstone sounded a note of caution about her findings.
“A paper published last year from the same study showed that low carbohydrate diets may have consequences for the health of the gut by dramatically reducing the numbers of particular types of bacteria.
“So we will be looking in more detail at the complex way in which we respond to changes in our diet before we can say whether low-carbohydrate ketogenic diets are a suitable tool for everyone who wants to lose weight,” she said.