Want to lose weight? Having a low-carb diet might help the body burn more calories, according to a new study.

How A Low-Carb Diet Can Help Weight Loss

The new study involved about 164 overweight and obese people from 18 to 65 years old. They were all placed on a low-carb but high-fat diet between Aug. 2014 and May 2017.

The new study published by the journal BMJ revealed that, over the course of 20 weeks, the participants were burning an average of 250 extra calories per day. Over three years, if the participants continued their diet, the researchers estimate that they could lose up to 20 pounds.

The researchers brought down the participants' weights by 12 percent as a baseline. Whenever a participant's metabolism sped up, the researchers changed their diet to increase calories to restore their weight to the baseline.

The findings were in line with the theory that eating processed carbohydrates cause the insulin levels to go up, pushing the body to burn fewer calories. Instead, the body stores these calories as fat.

The study looked at the diet's direct effect on metabolism which factors into weight loss.

"This study refutes the conventional thinking that it's only calorie-cutting that matters," stated David Ludwig, the principal investigator of the study and co-director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children's Hospital.

Do Not Switch Diets Yet

However, Anastassia Amaro, medical director of Penn Metabolic Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania who is not involved in the study, warned that the study did not specify whether it really was the low-carb diet or the high-fat content of the food that led to weight loss.

Naveed Sattar, a professor of metabolic medicine at the University of Glasgow, also warned about interpreting the findings of the study. He argued that the group that received low-carb diet ate more calories than other groups to keep up with everyone else's weight.

"This brings the other point that what really matters is weight change and we already know from much larger and longer trials that weight loss is broadly similar whatever diet one takes (low carb or low fat or others) as long as one sticks to the diet," he explained. "So, in short, I don't believe this work changes anything and nor does it convince me that low carb diets are meaningfully better to relevant health outcomes."

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