For overweight adults, cutting carbs may jump-start metabolism

Overweight adults who cut carbohydrates from their diets and replaced them with fat increased their metabolism and were able to burn more calories daily when compared with people who ate a high-carb, low-fat diet, according to a new study co-led by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

For the study, researchers provided 164 overweight adults with all of their meals and snacks for 20 weeks and tracked their weight and several other biological measures. All participants were first put on strict diets that lowered their body weight by about 12%. The researchers then assigned participants to one of three diets with 20%, 40%, or 60% of their calories from carbohydrates.

After five months, those who were given the fewest carbs burned roughly 250 calories more per day than people who ate a high-carb, low-fat diet.

In a November 15, 2018 New York Times article, David Ludwig, professor in Harvard Chan School’s Department of Nutrition and corresponding author of the study, said the researchers used “a gold standard method that has been validated across a wide range of experimental conditions and universally adopted in the field.”

Read the New York Times article: How a Low-Carb Diet Might Help You Maintain a Healthy Weight

Read a review of the research from the Nutrition Source: Effects of varying amounts of carbohydrate on metabolism after weight loss