Obesity scientists say low-carb diets like the Paleo, ketogenic, and Atkins diets are better for weight loss than low-fat, low-calorie diets.
Dr. David Ludwig, a nutrition professor at Harvard, said it’s time to put the kibosh on calorie-counting and embrace low-carb, high-fat diets for weight loss and good health.
“We’ve been taking an accounting approach to weight loss [and this doesn’t work],” Ludwig told Time. “Mediterranean or low-carb diets outperform a low-fat diet every time, and that wouldn’t be true if calories were the only measure that mattered.”
According to Ludwig, the optimal approach for weight loss is a low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) diet because it suppresses appetite and prevents the blood-sugar surges that cause inflammation and weight gain.
“We have to forget the low-fat paradigm,” said Ludwig. “Some high-fat foods like avocado, nuts and olive oil are among the healthiest foods we could possibly eat.”
According to Ludwig, the obesity epidemic is largely driven by our high-carb diet, which causes blood-sugar surges and insulin spikes. “Insulin is the granddaddy of anabolic hormones,” he said.
Fitness expert Mark Sisson, a former Ironman triathlete, agrees. Sisson, author of The Primal Blueprint, said the Paleo diet enhances weight loss by turning your body into a fat-burning machine.
“Over time, you become good at burning off your own body fat for energy rather than depending on carbohydrates throughout the day,” said Sisson, author of The Primal Blueprint 21-Day Total Body Transformation.
A recent study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicates the Paleo diet is twice as effective as other diets for promoting weight loss and reducing belly fat.
“Clinical trials have shown the Paleo diet is the optimum diet that can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, blood pressure, markers of inflammation, help with weight loss, reduce acne, promote optimum health and athletic performance,” said Paleo Movement founder Dr. Loren Cordain, author of The Paleo Diet for Athletes and The Paleo Diet Cookbook.
Dr. Jeff Volek, a pioneer in the low-carb, high-fat movement and professor at the University of Connecticut, agrees. What fuels weight gain and disease is inflammation — which is caused by a high-carb diet — especially one high in sugar, Volek told me.
Dr. Volek, author of The Art and Science of Low-Carbohydrate Living, explained that by drastically reducing carbs in our diet and replacing them with healthy, unprocessed fats, we boost fat-burning, eliminate nagging carb cravings, experience more stable blood sugar levels, and enjoy better mood.
“Carbohydrate restriction is the proverbial ‘silver bullet’ for managing insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes,” said Volek.” The medical profession continues to recommend a high-carb diet, which exacerbates the problem. It boggles the mind.”
Low-carb diets have also become increasingly popular with celebrities. Kim Kardashian credited a LCHF ketogenic-style Atkins diet for her 56-pound weight loss in six months.
And country superstar Tim McGraw lost 40 pounds by following a low-carb Paleo diet and doing CrossFit workouts. McGraw now has the body of an athlete, and has rippling 8-packs for the first time in his life — at age 47.
Even he is stunned by his transformation. “I was looking at some old concert shots the other day. Man, my gut!” he laughed.