Counting calories is NOT the key to weight loss

Al Roker recently revealed that he has “lost about 45 pounds in the past few months” by combining a daily walking routine with a low-carb diet. The 67-year-old weather anchor revealed on the TODAY show Monday that he eats about 100 grams of carbohydrates daily.

Smoker is living proof that the key to losing weight is not counting calories, but cutting carbohydrates. A new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition supports Roker’s plan. Lead author Dr. David Ludwig says the “body fights back against calorie restriction.” The endocrinologist and professor of pediatrics and nutrition at Harvard Medical School says restricting calories slows metabolism and makes people hungrier.

According to Fox News, Ludwig says it’s not so much that eating too many calories leads to weight gain, but that the high sugar content of certain carbohydrates triggers the pancreas to release the hormone insulin and store too much energy. When our bodies make too much insulin, the fat cells are programmed to hoard calories, he says. The low-carb diet the participants ate in Ludwig’s study consisted of 20% carbohydrates, 60% fat, 20% protein.

Low-carb diets are also recommended for people who suffer from diabetes as it helps control blood sugar levels. Of the three energy-providing macronutrients — carbohydrates, proteins and fats — carbohydrates have the greatest effect on raising blood sugar levels. Protein has a small to moderate effect and fat has the least effect, says Diabetes.nl.

Ludwig suggests our approach to weight loss was backwards.

“Given the choice between bread and butter, for years we focused on getting rid of the butter,” he says. “But perhaps the biggest problem is the bread between the two.”

dr. Jeff Vollek, of Ohio State University, has spent 25 years researching low-carb diets and says research shows that people who follow a low-carb diet can lose up to 10% of their body weight and maintain it.

“If you limit carbohydrates, the body gets really good at burning its own body fat because it doesn’t have a lot of sugars to burn as fuel,” according to Fox News. “The vast majority of adults in the US (over 100 million people) consume too many carbohydrates relative to their tolerance, which is why low-fat diets don’t work for most people. A strong body of research shows that cutting carbohydrates is a safe, effective and sustainable approach to improving weight and metabolic health.”

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