Poliquin Live

Tip 240: Eat A High-Protein, Low-Carb Diet for Weight loss and Better Health: Make It A Lifestyle

Tuesday, December 20, 2011 6:01 AM
Eat a high-protein, low-carb diet that favors a low glycemic response to lose weight and feel better. A low-carb diet intervention that results in better glycemic control will help you maintain an optimal body composition with ease so that the food you eat becomes a pleasant lifestyle rather than a diet struggle. Research shows a high-protein, low-glycemic diet will improve various biomarkers including high cholesterol, systemic inflammation, a lack of healthy enzymes, and insulin resistance that all feed off each other and cause a downward spiral of poor health and fat gain.

A new study in the journal Nutrition showed that a simple lifestyle intervention of eating a diet that is low in carbs, high in protein, and triggers a gradual glycemic response will induce fat loss, lower inflammation, and improve health markers. The study analyzed biomarkers in 322 participants, 15 percent of who were type 2 diabetic, following a 2-year dietary intervention. Researchers compared weight loss and waist circumference in participants who ate either a low-carb, high-protein, low-glycemic diet, a low-fat diet, or a Mediterranean diet.  All of the dietary interventions were effective at “inducing a cascade of changes within biomarkers of lipids, inflammation, liver enzymes, and glycemic control.” The high-protein diet induced the greatest body composition improvements of the three interventions, and the diabetics had the greatest change in insulin health markers.
Most important about this study is that better lipid markers, insulin health, and lower systemic inflammation were maintained despite some weight regain by the end of the study period in some of the participants. Researchers suggest better dietary habits (eating lots of protein that triggers less insulin secretion) that manage insulin sensitivity and glucose uptake directly affect all of the parameters studied (weight loss, decrease in waist circumference, decreased inflammation, better cholesterol levels, and rapid metabolism).
The key to better short- and long-term metabolic results according to researchers is dietary intervention or “lifestyle” change rather than a temporary diet change to induce short-term weight loss. It’s great if you can eat a low-carb, high-protein diet for a few months to drop weight and improve insulin sensitivity, but if you return to bad diet habits that include lost of carbs, high-glycemic index foods, or lots of fructose (it negatively modifies energy use and minimizes fat burning), you’ll regain the weight and the cardiometabolic benefits will be eliminated. In contrast, even if you gain some weight, which is unlikely with a low-carb, high-protein diet, you’ll maintain the good lipid balance and decreased inflammatory levels, making it easier for you to get back on track.

Pair resistance training with a low-carb, high-protein diet and you  can’t fail. If you’re confused by some of these terms, or how to minimize carbs, please read Poliquin’s Top 10 Carb Intake Rules for Optimal Body Composition.  To understand insulin health and related terms, read Insulin Sensitivity, Body Composition, and Weight Training.
Golan, R., Tirosh, A., et al. Dietary Intervention Induces Flow of Changes Within Biomarkers of Lipids, Inflammation, Liver Enzymes, and Glycemic Control. Nutrition. December 2011. Published Ahead of Print. 

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