Low-carbohydrate diet plans and extended-time period weight achieve | Information

For rapid release: December 27, 2023

Boston, MA—Low-carbohydrate weight loss plans comprised mostly of plant-based proteins and fat with wholesome carbohydrates such as whole grains were being related with slower very long-term fat get than very low-carbohydrate eating plans comprised largely of animal proteins and fats with unhealthy carbs like refined starches, according to a new research led by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Well being.

The review was published on December 27, 2023, in JAMA Network Open up.

“Our examine goes over and above the basic question of, ‘To carb or not to carb?’” claimed direct creator Binkai Liu, research assistant in the Office of Nourishment. “It dissects the small-carbohydrate diet and offers a nuanced glimpse at how the composition of these eating plans can impact well being over a long time, not just weeks or months.”

While lots of scientific tests have shown the added benefits of slicing carbohydrates for quick-expression body weight loss, very little investigate has been performed on lower-carbohydrate diets’ result on long-phrase excess weight maintenance and the part of foodstuff group excellent.

Working with info from the Nurses’ Wellbeing Review, Nurses’ Wellbeing Study II, and Overall health Industry experts Stick to-up Research, the scientists analyzed the diet programs and weights of 123,332 healthier older people from as early as 1986 to as not too long ago as 2018. Each individual participant supplied self-experiences of their meal plans and weights just about every 4 many years. The researchers scored participants’ diet plans based mostly on how perfectly they adhered to five classes of reduced-carbohydrate diet program: whole very low-carbohydrate diet program (TLCD), emphasizing all round decreased carbohydrate intake animal-dependent reduced-carbohydrate diet regime (ALCD), emphasizing animal-based mostly proteins and fats vegetable-dependent minimal-carbohydrate diet plan (VLCD), emphasizing plant-centered proteins and fat healthy reduced-carbohydrate diet (HLCD), emphasizing plant-primarily based proteins, healthier fat, and much less refined carbs and harmful low-carbohydrate diet regime (ULCD), emphasizing animal-primarily based proteins, unhealthy fat, and carbohydrates coming from harmful sources these as processed breads and cereals.

The examine observed that eating plans comprised of plant-centered proteins and fats and healthy carbohydrates were being appreciably related with slower very long-term bodyweight gain. Contributors who amplified their adherence to TLCD, ALCD, and ULCD on regular acquired more bodyweight as opposed to individuals who amplified their adherence to HLCD around time. These associations were being most pronounced among the participants who were young (<55 years old), overweight or obese, and/or less physically active. The results for the vegetable-based low carbohydrate diet were more ambiguous: Data from the Nurses’ Health Study II showed an association between higher VLCD scores and less weight gain over time, while data around VLCD scores from the Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study were more mixed.

“The key takeaway here is that not all low-carbohydrate diets are created equal when it comes to managing weight in the long-term,” said senior author Qi Sun, associate professor in the Department of Nutrition. “Our findings could shake up the way we think about popular low-carbohydrate diets and suggest that public health initiatives should continue to promote dietary patterns that emphasize healthful foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products.”

Other Harvard Chan authors included Molin Wang, associate professor in the Departments of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and Yang Hu, research scientist Sharan Rai, postdoctoral research fellow and Frank Hu, professor, in the Department of Nutrition.

The study was funded by research grants from the National Institutes of Health: UM1 CA186107, U01 CA176726, U01 CA167552, P01 CA87969, R01 HL034594, R01 HL035464, R01 HL60712, R01 DK120870, R01 DK126698, R01 DK119268, U2C DK129670, DK119268, R01 ES022981, and R21 AG070375.

“Low-Carbohydrate Diet Macronutrient Quality and Weight Change,” Binkai Liu, Yang Hu, Sharan K. Rai, Molin Wang, Frank B. Hu, Qi Sun, JAMA Network Open, December 27, 2023, doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.49552

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Image: iStock/marilyna

For more information:

Maya Brownstein
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Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health brings together dedicated experts from many disciplines to educate new generations of global health leaders and produce powerful ideas that improve the lives and health of people everywhere. As a community of leading scientists, educators, and students, we work together to take innovative ideas from the laboratory to people’s lives—not only making scientific breakthroughs, but also working to change individual behaviors, public policies, and health care practices. Each year, more than 400 faculty members at Harvard Chan School teach 1,000-plus full-time students from around the world and train thousands more through online and executive education courses. Founded in 1913 as the Harvard-MIT School of Health Officers, the School is recognized as America’s oldest professional training program in public health.