Intermittent Low-Carb Study

      66 Comments on Intermittent Low-Carb Study

I stumbled across this article about a carbohydrate-restriction study while looking for something else.

British researchers took 88 women considered at high risk for breast cancer and divided them into three diet groups. One group adopted a Mediterranean-type diet with a limit of 1500 calories per day.  The second group was told to restrict carbohydrates to below 50 grams two days per week, then eat normally on the other days.  The third group was also told to restrict carbohydrates to below 50 grams two days per week, but also to limit calories to 650 on those two days.

Here were the results, according to the article:

At the end of four weeks women in both of the intermittent dieting groups had lost more weight — about 9 pounds — than the women who ate low calorie meals every day of the week — about 5 pounds.

Women in the intermittent dieting groups also had better improvement than daily dieters in the levels of hormones — insulin and leptin — that have been linked with breast cancer risk.

Notice that the women who restricted calories every day lost the least amount of weight on average.  I couldn’t find a full paper on this study – the article mentions a presentation, so maybe there is no full study published – so we don’t know if they measured changes in metabolism.  We also don’t know if the women who went low-carb twice per week reduced their calorie intake spontaneously.  All we know is that the women who restricted calories every day lost less weight than those who merely restricted carbohydrates two days per week.

I also found it interesting that both groups of women who restricted carbohydrates lost about the same amount of weight, even though one group restricted calories to 650 two days per week and the other group didn’t.  We’ve seen this happen in several studies now:  people who restrict carbohydrates lose as much or more weight than people who restrict calories, even though the low-carbers don’t restrict calories and are told to eat to satiety.

If you restrict calories enough and can endure being perpetually hungry, you will lose weight.  Nobody disputes that.  But there’s a good chance you’ll also end up with a slower metabolism and be miserable much of the time.  No thanks.  Not when can I keep my weight down just by avoiding sugar and limiting starch.  I’m never miserable while eating bacon, steaks, ribs, shrimp, chicken, eggs and butter.

I know what I ate today (scrambled ham and eggs with onions and cheese for breakfast, Italian sausages and mashed cauliflower loaded with butter and sour cream for dinner), but I don’t know how many calories I consumed today … or yesterday, or the day before, or the day before, or on any day in recent memory.  And I like it that way.

Share

66 thoughts on “Intermittent Low-Carb Study

  1. Raina

    Dr B — I’ve made it several times and it’s really quite good. It doesn’t taste like cauliflower at all and gets nice and crispy (can even hold it in my hands like a real crust!)

    I enjoyed it, but am going to try an almond flour one next. Mainly because I keep replacing EVERYTHING with cauliflower (rice, pasta in a casserole, potatoes), so I’m looking for something a little different.

    Reply
  2. Raina

    Dr B — I’ve made it several times and it’s really quite good. It doesn’t taste like cauliflower at all and gets nice and crispy (can even hold it in my hands like a real crust!)

    I enjoyed it, but am going to try an almond flour one next. Mainly because I keep replacing EVERYTHING with cauliflower (rice, pasta in a casserole, potatoes), so I’m looking for something a little different.

    Reply
  3. Monica

    I saw your movie last night and really enjoyed it. I’m a 20+ year vegetarian (wait, hold your fire for a minute!) who has gotten fatter and fatter. I’ve begun to notice that most vegetarians I know are fatty fattersons too. After all, potato chips, pasta and ice cream are vegetarian foods. A couple of months ago I cut sugar and starches from my diet and the weight started coming off pretty easily. Then a month ago I started intermittent fasting via the Johnson Up Day Down Day Diet and wow, the difference in everything from weight loss, energy level, moods, skin health, hunger satiety and so much more is astounding. I do a modified fast of 18 hours, 3 days a week. When I break the fast in the evening on those days, I eat 500 calories or less of mostly fat, vegetables and some vegetable protein. The interesting thing is I don’t even feel hungry on the down days now and I credit that to the lack of sugar and starch.

    I’m realizing that a meat-eating diet is probably healthier but I just can’t bring myself to eat it so I’ll have to make do with eggs and whole dairy. However, as I learn more about the importance of an abundance of high quality fat, I don’t feel the lack of animal protein is too much of a hindrance. Anyway, thanks for an entertaining and informative film about all this. It’s an uphill battle and you’re doing great work. I will recommend it to everyone I know, especially other vegetarians who’ve bought into the ‘healthier vegetarian’ propaganda.

    The vegetarians I’ve met who are lean and healthy don’t eat sugar or white flour. I think that’s much of the battle right there, whether you eat meat or not.

    Reply
  4. Monica

    I saw your movie last night and really enjoyed it. I’m a 20+ year vegetarian (wait, hold your fire for a minute!) who has gotten fatter and fatter. I’ve begun to notice that most vegetarians I know are fatty fattersons too. After all, potato chips, pasta and ice cream are vegetarian foods. A couple of months ago I cut sugar and starches from my diet and the weight started coming off pretty easily. Then a month ago I started intermittent fasting via the Johnson Up Day Down Day Diet and wow, the difference in everything from weight loss, energy level, moods, skin health, hunger satiety and so much more is astounding. I do a modified fast of 18 hours, 3 days a week. When I break the fast in the evening on those days, I eat 500 calories or less of mostly fat, vegetables and some vegetable protein. The interesting thing is I don’t even feel hungry on the down days now and I credit that to the lack of sugar and starch.

    I’m realizing that a meat-eating diet is probably healthier but I just can’t bring myself to eat it so I’ll have to make do with eggs and whole dairy. However, as I learn more about the importance of an abundance of high quality fat, I don’t feel the lack of animal protein is too much of a hindrance. Anyway, thanks for an entertaining and informative film about all this. It’s an uphill battle and you’re doing great work. I will recommend it to everyone I know, especially other vegetarians who’ve bought into the ‘healthier vegetarian’ propaganda.

    The vegetarians I’ve met who are lean and healthy don’t eat sugar or white flour. I think that’s much of the battle right there, whether you eat meat or not.

    Reply
  5. Sienna

    I’ve been following The Wheat Belly diet for about a month or 6 weeks now and have been feeling great, with lots of energy, and have also lost a little bit of flab (yay!). I’ve been telling everyone, who will listen about the book, because I think it’s so interesting, convincing and sensible.

    But as a Dutch baker’s daughter, I grew up eating a lot of delicious bread. We practically lived on the stuff, usually smothered in Gouda cheese and ham. Nothing tastes better, nor is more comforting to the soul, as it reminds me of my childhood, and my parents, who both died years ago.

    I miss my bread so much, that yesterday, while sitting outside on the patio at a local pub enjoying the sunny river view, and my ice cold beer, I indulged in a side of fries and several pieces of roasted garlic goat cheese pizza. The taste was divine, almost orgasmic. And I figured it was harmless to “go off the wagon” for one meal.

    Man was I wrong. I was awake almost all night with gas, bloating and an ache in my guts that still hasn’t gone away, nor has the headache or lethargy. Was it the crust, the cheese, the beer or all 3 I wonder? I dug myself into a deep hole and it’ll take a while to get out. It’ll be a salad and some chicken breast for supper I guess. Fasting would probably be advisable don’t you think? 🙂

    BTW both my parents had diabetes when they got older, and 3 of my older brothers have it too. I’m trying to follow this diet so I won’t be a victim.

    Reply
  6. Sienna

    I’ve been following The Wheat Belly diet for about a month or 6 weeks now and have been feeling great, with lots of energy, and have also lost a little bit of flab (yay!). I’ve been telling everyone, who will listen about the book, because I think it’s so interesting, convincing and sensible.

    But as a Dutch baker’s daughter, I grew up eating a lot of delicious bread. We practically lived on the stuff, usually smothered in Gouda cheese and ham. Nothing tastes better, nor is more comforting to the soul, as it reminds me of my childhood, and my parents, who both died years ago.

    I miss my bread so much, that yesterday, while sitting outside on the patio at a local pub enjoying the sunny river view, and my ice cold beer, I indulged in a side of fries and several pieces of roasted garlic goat cheese pizza. The taste was divine, almost orgasmic. And I figured it was harmless to “go off the wagon” for one meal.

    Man was I wrong. I was awake almost all night with gas, bloating and an ache in my guts that still hasn’t gone away, nor has the headache or lethargy. Was it the crust, the cheese, the beer or all 3 I wonder? I dug myself into a deep hole and it’ll take a while to get out. It’ll be a salad and some chicken breast for supper I guess. Fasting would probably be advisable don’t you think? 🙂

    BTW both my parents had diabetes when they got older, and 3 of my older brothers have it too. I’m trying to follow this diet so I won’t be a victim.

    Reply
  7. Julie

    Thanks, Tom! Been HF/LC for only a few weeks, and have been worried about those days where I just don’t feel like eating (afraid that I’d slow down my metabolism). Nice to know it’s pretty normal instead of trying to stuff myself on those days I feel averse to the food.

    Just let your appetite be your guide. It’s pointless to eat when you don’t feel like eating.

    Reply
  8. Julie

    Thanks, Tom! Been HF/LC for only a few weeks, and have been worried about those days where I just don’t feel like eating (afraid that I’d slow down my metabolism). Nice to know it’s pretty normal instead of trying to stuff myself on those days I feel averse to the food.

    Just let your appetite be your guide. It’s pointless to eat when you don’t feel like eating.

    Reply
  9. Jake

    I’m a heavy milk drinker and have followed 2 diets all my life. I eat completely based on mood and I’m usually one to eat a lot (2000 or so calories most days). I had noticed when I was eating more meat, dairy, and fruit, I was generally less depressed, happier, and later on found out it helped with my ADD. But then I’m also a light-weight and with my decent metabolism it’s always been hard to gain weight without gorging on heavy carbs, and I do gain weight usually, but I feel weak and agitated and such.

    I found a website that advocated a heavy protein/fat diet for ADD people and continued to see that connection. Now a few years later, I run into your documentary and it restates everything I’ve previously learned about sat fats and how I feel better when I eat “real food.” I’m so glad to have found your documentary and have been telling others about it!

    One question though, the paleo style diet seems to be against drinking milk, and I both enjoy it and drink it at 9/10 meals. Is this something that is more individual for tolerance?

    Yes, it’s a matter of individual tolerance. Milk is a fairly new addition to the human diet and many people have negative reactions to dairy foods.

    Reply
  10. Jake

    I’m a heavy milk drinker and have followed 2 diets all my life. I eat completely based on mood and I’m usually one to eat a lot (2000 or so calories most days). I had noticed when I was eating more meat, dairy, and fruit, I was generally less depressed, happier, and later on found out it helped with my ADD. But then I’m also a light-weight and with my decent metabolism it’s always been hard to gain weight without gorging on heavy carbs, and I do gain weight usually, but I feel weak and agitated and such.

    I found a website that advocated a heavy protein/fat diet for ADD people and continued to see that connection. Now a few years later, I run into your documentary and it restates everything I’ve previously learned about sat fats and how I feel better when I eat “real food.” I’m so glad to have found your documentary and have been telling others about it!

    One question though, the paleo style diet seems to be against drinking milk, and I both enjoy it and drink it at 9/10 meals. Is this something that is more individual for tolerance?

    Yes, it’s a matter of individual tolerance. Milk is a fairly new addition to the human diet and many people have negative reactions to dairy foods.

    Reply
  11. Julie

    I went fully low carb last week (including eating meat, which I haven’t done in fourteen years), and I noticed something very interesting. Back when I was following a low calorie diet, I tried to eat about 1700 calories, but it was miserable and I was hungry all the time. But with a low carb diet, I actually eat 1700 calories naturally! Even with the butter and heavy cream and bacon, I don’t eat any more than I used to on a low calorie diet, except now I’m satisfied and never hungry. It’s only when I start eating sugar and grains that I get hungry. I just wish everyone knew about this.

    That’s a big part of why low-carb diets work.

    Reply
  12. Julie

    I went fully low carb last week (including eating meat, which I haven’t done in fourteen years), and I noticed something very interesting. Back when I was following a low calorie diet, I tried to eat about 1700 calories, but it was miserable and I was hungry all the time. But with a low carb diet, I actually eat 1700 calories naturally! Even with the butter and heavy cream and bacon, I don’t eat any more than I used to on a low calorie diet, except now I’m satisfied and never hungry. It’s only when I start eating sugar and grains that I get hungry. I just wish everyone knew about this.

    That’s a big part of why low-carb diets work.

    Reply
  13. Darren@KetoDietPlans

    low carb is waaaay better than low calorie. Julie is right when she says she can eat more on a low carb diet when compared to low calorie. After 3 months on low carb it became so natural i switched over to a ketosis diet. Keto was a little harder, but the weight loss felt faster with less effort.

    Reply
  14. Darren@KetoDietPlans

    low carb is waaaay better than low calorie. Julie is right when she says she can eat more on a low carb diet when compared to low calorie. After 3 months on low carb it became so natural i switched over to a ketosis diet. Keto was a little harder, but the weight loss felt faster with less effort.

    Reply
  15. Jeannine

    Ok if I eat window between 745am till 1145am stop eat noon start fasting till 8am on next day love low carb high fat with fat bomb everyday let me know ok if it still burn fat and build muscles. Thanks need lose 10lbs

    Just make sure you get enough protein to maintain muscle.

    Reply
  16. Jeannine

    Ok if I eat window between 745am till 1145am stop eat noon start fasting till 8am on next day love low carb high fat with fat bomb everyday let me know ok if it still burn fat and build muscles. Thanks need lose 10lbs

    Just make sure you get enough protein to maintain muscle.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.