New Delhi: If you’ve been trying to shed the pounds for some time, then you probably would know that the standard prescription for weight loss is to reduce the amount of calorie intake. While it’s important to restrict the amounts of calories you consume, especially when watching your weight, a new study suggests otherwise. According to the study published in JAMA, people who ate plenty of vegetables and whole foods – without restricting the quantity of food – while cutting back on added sugar, refined grains and highly processed foods lost significant amounts of weight over the course of a year. The study lends strong support to the idea that diet quality, not quantity, is what matters in order to help people lose and manage their weight most easily in the long run.
For the study led by Christopher D Gardner, the director of nutrition studies at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, the researchers looked at 600 people who were split into two diet groups, The New York Times reported. One group was given low-carb food, whereas the other group was fed a low-fat diet. Both the groups attended classes with dietitians where they were trained to eat nutrient-dense, minimally processed whole foods, cooked at home whenever possible, the report added. Read: Not losing weight? Just stand for 6 hours a day to shed pounds; here are 3 simple tips to burn belly fat fast
At the end of the study, the researchers found that both the groups had lost a good amount of weight. While the participants who ate a low-carb diet lost an average of 13 pounds, the low-fat group lost an average of 11.7 pounds. Both groups also observed an improvement in other health factors such as blood pressure and body fat.
“This is the roadmap to reducing the obesity epidemic in the United States,” Dr Dariush Mozaffarian, a cardiologist and dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University and who was not involved in the study, said. “It’s time for the US and other national policies to stop focusing on calories and calorie counting.”
The main goal of the study was to compare how overweight and obese people would fare on low-carbohydrate and low-fat diets.
Usually, people trying to shed the pounds are asked to restrict the calories they consume. But, this study found that participants were able to lose substantial amounts of weight after one year of focusing on food quality, not calories. The researchers note it’s not that calories don’t matter, but it shouldn’t be the main focus when it comes to weight loss. The study found that by the end of the year, both groups were consuming fewer calories on average, even though they were not conscious of it.
Hence, the findings of the study suggest focusing on that foundational diet, which is more vegetables, more whole foods, less added sugar and less refined grains. Focusing on whole foods will help you lose weight as well as improve overall health.