Trying to lose weight? Most people use food tracking apps to keep track of consumed calories every day. However, it's better to stop counting calories, a new study has found.
Stop Counting Calories
A group of researchers from Stanford University analyzed 609 adults who were overweight, which the participants were then asked to select a diet they would prefer to follow: low-carb or low-fat.
Both groups, between ages 18 and 50, had to follow their new diet plan for a year.
Those who opted for the low-carb diet were asked to eat avocados, vegetables, salmon, and grass-fed or pasture-raised foods. Participants also needed to use olive oil frequently while cooking meals at home.
Participants who selected the low-fat group were asked to eat foods, such as brown rice, oats, lean meats, lentils, dairy products low in fat, fresh fruit, and quinoa.
Even though foods like white bread, white rice, and baked goods like muffins are low-fat, researchers asked participants to avoid eating them throughout the study.
Supporting New Diet Plans
To help, researchers offered participants classes that discussed the importance of food and ways to support their new diet plans.
When people normally follow low-fat or low-carb diets, they usually keep track of calories.
Researchers expressed to participants that they regardless of what diet they were on, they needed to make sure they didn't buy processed food. Researchers also wanted participants to eat as much food as they wanted so they didn't feel hungry.
During the study, participants were asked to limit their carbohydrate and fat intake to 20 grams. By the second month, the researchers asked the two groups to add at least 5 to 15 grams of carbohydrates and fats back to their diet.
A small group of people happened to gain weight during the study, while other people lost anywhere from 50 to 60 lbs.
By the end of the study, participants in the low-fat diet were only consuming 57 grams, while those in the low-carb diet consumed about 132 grams of carbohydrates each day.
Outstanding results, as before the study, most of the participants consumed anywhere from 90 to 247 grams of carbohydrates.
The study found that it's important to eat a high-quality diet to help manage weight overall health. Cutting off calories and carbohydrates are not encouraged. Those who did in the study gained rather than lost weight.
"The bottom line: Diet quality is important for both weight control and long-term well-being," lead study author Christopher Gardner of Stanford University told The New York Times.