Calories, not carbs, key to weight loss

The key to shedding pounds is cutting down on calories, not carbohydrates or proteins, especially among the overweight with type 2 diabetes, a study reveals.

The study, led by Otago University endocrinologist Jeremy Krebs, looked at whether 419 participants (aged 35-75 years) had different rates of weight loss over two years when they were given two low fat diets; one involving high protein intake and the other high in carbohydrates.

"We decided to do this study as weight loss is very important in terms of control of blood sugar levels and many people with diabetes are seriously overweight," Krebs was quoted as saying by the the journal Diabetologia.

"However, there has been a lot of medical and public debate about the best way to achieve this, and which diets may be the most effective over the long term," said Krebs, according to a university statement.

The two groups of moderately overweight people with diabetes were prescribed the specific diets supported by 18 group sessions with a dietician, while also using food diaries to track their eating and weight loss progress.

The final results showed that there was no significant difference in weight reduction between the low fat/high protein and low fat/high carbohydrate diets after two years of the study.

Both groups lost weight which was related to the total calorie intake going down with the low fat diets, indicating this was the driving factor in weight loss.

"We certainly did achieve a modest weight loss, of two to three kilos, in both groups, but essentially there was little difference between the two diets," said Krebs.

"This confirms that the solution to weight loss over the long term is reducing energy intake; that is the amount of calories someone eats on a daily basis," concluded Krebs.

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