How Do I Lose Weight? Food Choices, Not Cutting Carbs or Fats, Key to Weight Loss According to Stanford Study
In a world full of ridiculous nutrition hype and diet fads, it is incredible when a respected research group takes the time and effort to analyze what is real and what is phony. That is exactly what Christopher Gardner, PhD, Professor of Medicine, did with a team at Stanford University School of Medicine. In a 12-month research study, researchers set out to define a clear winner in the debate between low-carb versus low-fat diets yielding best individual results. To the point of “individual,” the study also took into account genotype differences and insulin levels of participants to understand if these highly touted “markers” made a difference in results.
So, what were the biggest takeaways? Well, nothing that the study initially set out to understand. In fact, when it came to the highly touted importance of gene type as it relates to nutrition and weight loss, there was no statistical difference in the 609 participants, no matter which diet group they were in, as it related to their genotypes. And what about insulin levels? Yep, the same thing – it flat-out did not matter to the outcomes of their 12-month journeys through the study.
OK, so you are probably thinking that could sort of make sense, because some of those newer, trendy concepts could be a purpose of marketing dollars versus reality – specifically around the “nutrigenomics” space that has been all the rage with home spun tests and check swabs to define the optimal diet based on your genes. Though there were no literal links found, Dr. Gardner does feel that there could be a bright future as the science and approach of DNA testing continues to evolve, but for now, there is no proof of that in the research.
So, let’s focus on the tried and true low-carb and low-fat diets that companies spend billions of dollars advertising around. Of course, there has to be a conclusion as to what works best here. Come on Stanford, tell us what the magic bullet is to looking better, fitting in those jeans and heading to the beach in our new bathing suits! Nope. Across the two groups, based on applying both diets, there was zero statistical variance in the outcomes.
According to the study, participants lost more than 6000 pounds collectively over the 12 months. Some participants lost more than 60 pounds, while others gained 10-15 pounds, but there was no correlation to which diet enabled the best outcomes. Further, baseline insulin levels and genotype did not impact which of the two diets worked best for participants.
But here is a wrinkle: Dr. Gardner and the researchers set all participants on a path to ensure the low-carb or low-fat diets were using healthy carbs and fats. As Dr. Gardner defined, “We made sure to tell everybody, regardless of which diet they were on, to go to the farmer’s market, and don’t buy processed convenience food crap. Also, we advised them to diet in a way that didn’t make them feel hungry or deprived—otherwise it’s hard to maintain the diet in the long run.”
So, therein lies the key: It is not really a matter of the diet type, it is really dependent on the types of low-carb foods and low-fat foods we are choosing. Taking this a step further to the point of Dr. Gardner’s advice; it is a focus on longevity of food choices that will keep you satisfied, not the short-term diet to get fit.
In a video interview on Stanford’s website analyzing the study, Dr. Gardner gives some more perspective for all of us to follow.
“The more I have looked into this, and the more conferences I go to, I continually see three factors come up again and again,” Dr. Gardner said. “ (1) Get rid of added sugar, (2) Get rid of refined grains and (3) Eat as many vegetables as you can.”
“I feel like we owe it to Americans to be smarter than to just say ‘eat less,’” Dr. Gardner continued. “I still think there is an opportunity to discover some personalization to it – now we just need to work on tying the pieces together.”
Bravo Dr. Gardner and Stanford researchers from all of us at STYR Labs and My Nutrition IQ. So much of what you outline is why we created our personalized-nutrition-as-a-service platform – healthy eating and nutrition are not “point in time” activities, they are ongoing lifestyle-based decisions, and the STYR Labs app and devices are built to do just that.
Sergio Radovcic, STYR Labs’ CEO and Founder, described why he created this personalized-nutrition company:
“I created STYR Labs to help people understand how food choices, activity and hydration define body composition, so folks could act from a position of knowledge regarding their lifestyle and nutrition choices,” Radovcic said. “With our voice-activated food-logging, members can manage their refined grain and sugar intake with our macro and micronutrient breakdown, whilst celebrating their veggie intake.”
If you are interested to hear more and receive personalized nutrition, check out STYR’s app, fitness tracker and suite of connected smart devices. Through the platform, you can track and log activity, food, hydration, sleep, nutrition, mood and more to personalize your nutrition needs based on data, science and access to registered dietitians, nutritionists and personal trainers.
Please note that this information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. We insist that you always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical/health condition or treatment and before initiating a new health care regime. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the STYR app or on www.MyNutritioniQ.com.