If you have ever been on any type of diet before, then you know that the normal standard to achieve the weight loss that you are looking for is going to be for you to reduce how many calories you are consuming on a regular basis. However, in a study that was published by the Journal of the American Medical Association, also more commonly referred to as JAMA, this may not necessarily be the case. In fact, this study actually discovered that when people were able to cut back on the amount of added sugars, highly processed foods and refined grains that they were eating and replaced them with a healthy amount of whole foods and vegetables, they would lose a significant amount of weight throughout the year, without needing to worry about counting how many calories that they had been eating or limiting their portion sizes.
This idea of swapping out the lower-quality of foods that contain extra sugars and grains, and that have been highly processed for better quality foods such as vegetables and whole grains, was able to produce better weight loss results when partnered with both low fat diets, as well as low carbohydrate diets. And what makes this even more exciting, is the fact that their success in losing weight was not influenced by any type of genetics or even their insulin response to the carbohydrates that they were consuming. What all this means is that there are now doubts being cast on the increasingly popular idea of how different types of diets are going to work better for certain people, solely based off of their DNA makeup or their ability to tolerate fats or carbohydrates.
Essentially, this study and the research that was discovered from it tend to support the idea that it is more about your diet quality when it comes to losing weight, as opposed to quantity. So, if you are looking to lose some excess weight, be sure that you are focusing on what you eat and not how many calories you eat. If you do this, it will help you to lose much more weight and keep it off in the long run.
On top of all that, this study also suggests that all the healthy authorities should stop telling everybody that they need to obsess over how many calories they are consuming every single day if they wish to lose weight, and instead encourage those people to start avoiding any type of processed foods that have been made with the use of refined starches and/or additionally added sugars. These can include foods such as bagels, reined flour, white bread, and sugary beverages and snacks.
If everyone is able to reduce your intake of these particular types of foods, it is essentially going to be the countries roadmap to reducing the ever-growing obesity epidemic that has taken over the United States. The era of counting calories is over, and people should start focusing on the quality of the foods they eat, not how many calories the food contains. In a nutshell, if you are looking to lose weight, calorie counting is dead.
Now that you have discovered the results of this particular study, you may be wondering exactly how these results were discovered.
How Did the Study Discover That Calorie Quantity is Less Important?
Led by the director of nutrition over at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, Christopher D. Gardner, was in charge of the entire study. It was a very expensive and large trial that was carried out on over 600 people, costing more than $8 million, which was received through funding by the National Institutes of Health, another group called the Nutrition Science initiative, as well as several other groups as well.
The study was originally setup to determine exactly how obese and overweight people would react to being either a low-fat or low-carbohydrate diet. But at the same time, they had also come up with a hypothesis that had not yet been tested but hinted at through previous studies. That hypothesis being there are some people who will perform better on a particular type of diet, as they have genetics that allows them to metabolize fats and carbohydrates better than other people. On a side note, there are an overwhelming number of different services that actually try to capitalize off of this genetics and weight loss idea, offering their clients some type of personalized nutritional plan that has been custom tailored to their specific genotype.
At the start of the study, researchers selected adults of all kind from the San Francisco Bay Area and split them up into two different diet groups, those being either the ‘healthy’ low fat group or the ‘healthy’ low carb group. Both groups of members were required to attend multiple classes with certified dieticians who would then help them learn how to eat more nutrient dense foods that were minimally processed and considered to be whole foods, as well as how to cook them at home whenever that was possible.
Now you must keep in mind that fruit juices, white rice, soft drinks, muffins, and white bread are all going to technically be lower in fat, but the group that was eating only low-fat was instructed to try and avoid those types of things and stick to eating more wholesome foods such as barley, brown rice, lentils, steel-cut oats, low-fat dairy, lean meats, legumes, fresh fruits, and quinoa.
The low-carb group on the other hand, was instructed and taught to only choose foods that were nutritious, some of which included salmon, olive oil, hard cheeses, avocados, nut butters, vegetables, seeds, nuts, pasture-raised animal foods, and grass fed animal foods.
On top of that, all of the participants were also instructed to follow the federal guidelines when it came to how much physical activity they needed to be getting on regular basis, but did not necessarily need to increase the amount of time that they would spend exercising or the intensity level of the exercise. While the participants were in class with their respective dieticians, most of the time spent together was used to discuss different foods and other behavioral strategies that would help to support all of their dietary changes.
What really made this study stand out from any of the other studies that had been done in previous weight-loss trials, was the fact that there were no set limitations to the amount of fats, carbohydrates that they were able to eat, as well as no caloric limits. All that was required was to try and focus on eating foods that are considered to be whole, or ‘real’, as often as was needed to avoid any kind of hungry feelings. What this means, is that while all the participants were taught how to eat for their individual diet group, there were never given any limitations for how much they were able to eat. There was never a set number that was given to them to follow.
Now you must keep in mind that about 90% of the people who go on any type of diet and lose any significant amount of weight are going to eventually regain what they have lost, so this particular study is unable to establish if the participants were actually able to sustain their weight loss and new eating habits. As for the results of the study, there was a significant amount of weight loss that occurred throughout the entire length of the study, but there were also some wide variabilities as well, and that was in both of the two different groups. While there were some who actually gained weight, there were others who lost from 50 to 60 pounds as well. In a follow up interview, those who had lost the most weight had reported that this study had ‘changed the way they think about food, as well as their relationship with it.’ These people had completely stopped eating while they were in their cars or sitting in front of the television screen. They also reported that they were doing more cooking at home and actually sitting down to eat their meals with their families whenever possible.
The results of the study speak for themselves and are essentially telling you that it is diet quality that you should be paying attention too if you are interested in weight control and/or long-term health and well-being. The number of calories you consume really doesn’t matter, however the quality of the calories you consume does. Now you must remember that it is not that calories simply do not matter, but when you focus on wholesome foods that are able to satisfy your hunger for longer, you will be getting more nutrition that your body needs for optimal performance.
So if you are looking to lose weight through dieting, remember that it is not how many calories that you are eating on a regular basis, but where those calories are coming from that really matters.