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Quality Matters: High-Quality Low-Carbohydrate Diet Slows Weight Gain

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Ayanna Amadi
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Quality Matters: High-Quality Low-Carbohydrate Diet Slows Weight Gain

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The Importance of High-Quality Low-Carbohydrate Diets

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Recent studies have highlighted the importance of the quality of food in low-carbohydrate diets. A high-quality low-carbohydrate diet, rich in plant-based proteins and healthy fats, has been linked to slower weight gain. Conversely, a diet low in quality, often filled with animal-based proteins, processed fats, and refined carbohydrates, has been associated with faster weight gain.

Insights from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

A landmark study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health analyzed the diets and weights of 123,332 healthy adults from as early as 1986 to as recently as 2018. The study found that diets composed primarily of plant-based proteins, fats, and healthy carbohydrates like whole grains were significantly associated with slower long-term weight gain. The research emphasizes that not all low-carbohydrate diets are equal when it comes to managing weight in the long-term, underscoring the importance of emphasizing healthful foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products in dietary patterns.

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Replacing Refined Carbs and Animal-Based Fats

A similar study showed that replacing refined carbs with whole grain foods and reducing intake of animal-based fats and proteins can slow weight gain over time. This study centered on 123,332 men and women with no chronic health conditions, showing that diets heavy on healthy carbohydrates and plant-based proteins and fats are linked with significantly slower long-term weight gain.

Understanding Low Carbohydrate Diets (LCDs) and Weight Change

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A cohort study examining the association between low carbohydrate diets (LCDs) and long-term weight change discovered that LCDs emphasizing high-quality proteins, fats, and carbohydrates from whole grains and other healthy plant-based foods were significantly associated with slower weight gain in the long term. In contrast, LCDs that emphasized animal-sourced proteins, fats, or refined carbohydrates were associated with faster weight gain. This study suggests that the quality of the diet plays a significant role in weight management, particularly among obese individuals.

Comparing Different Types of Low-Carb Diets

Another study compared five different types of low-carb diets and found that an unhealthy, meat-based low-carb diet led to weight gain over time compared to a healthier, plant-based version. This study also highlighted that a 'Keto-like' diet may be associated with a higher risk of heart disease, emphasizing the importance of food quality in any diet. It recommends a diet that focuses on fresh fruits and non-starchy vegetables, whole grains, nuts, legumes, olive oil, and other healthy ingredients.

Quality of Low-Carbohydrate Diet Plays a Role in Weight Gain

Research conducted by Binkai Liu, MS, from the Department of Nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, found that a high-quality low-carbohydrate diet, rich in plant-based proteins and healthy fats, was associated with slower weight gain. This research, funded by the National Institutes of Health, once again highlights the role of diet quality in weight gain, suggesting a clear link between the quality of a low-carbohydrate diet and weight management.

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