A high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet is the most effective diet for promoting weight loss and reducing hunger, at least in the short term, according to scientists at Aberdeen’s Rowett Research Institute.
Researchers gave healthy but obese men one of two “high protein” diets. Protein was kept to 30% of total calories in both diets, but the amount of carbohydrate and fat was varied. In the first diet—which they called “low carbohydrate”—the carbohydrate content was kept to a very low 4%, with the rest of the calories coming from fat. In the second diet—which they called “moderate carbohydrate”—the carbohydrate content was kept to 35%, with the rest coming from fat.
Each subject spent four weeks on each of the two diets, and was weighed daily. The subjects were allowed to eat all they wanted, as long as the proportions of carbohydrate, fat and protein were kept constant according to the experimental design. The subjects were asked about their hunger and appetite on a daily basis.
Not surprisingly, those eating the very low carbohydrate version of the diet went into ketosis. They also reported the least amount of hunger. Not surprisingly, given their reports of less hunger and cravings, they also spontaneously ate less food and lost more weight.
The modern-day Atkins program no longer emphasizes ketosis as necessary for weight loss, but it does appear that for some people it’s a very effective way to lose weight and control appetite. But with or without ketosis, the modern-day Atkins Nutritional Approach™ continues to be shown to be effective at keeping weight under control while supporting good health. Remember, even in the “moderate carbohydrate” diet used in the research, carbohydrates were only 35% of calories, protein was 30% and fat made up the rest. With a diet of adequate protein, good fat, high-fiber vegetables, low-glycemic fruit and a little whole grain in lifetime maintenance, you can’t go wrong!