We have all seen the tired tropes and all the fancy diets like, weight watchers, Atkins, Keto, Paleo diets that tell you that Carbs are the enemy of your waist and asking you to ditch the carbs if you want to lose weight. Unfortunately, many people fall for this advice and follow these diets, only to be disappointed later, and hurting their health in the long term.
If you have been following the articles I have posted previously, and better still, read my book The ABCD Method For A Fit Life, you will know that our body runs on Carbs and we need Carbs not just to run our basic metabolic functions but also if you want to lose fat and/or gain muscle. Plus there are good Carbs and bad Carbs and its foolish to lump them all together.
A recent study conducted by Researchers from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and Yale School of Medicine studied 244 overweight adults over a 16 week period. Half of the group was randomly assigned to follow a low-fat vegan diet (75% carbs, 15% protein, and 10% fat), while the other half was asked to follow their typical diet without any changes with both groups keeping their activity levels the same as before.
By the end of the study, the vegan group had lost an average of 13 pounds as well as a significant amount of body fat, while the control group didn't show any significant change in their weight.
Vegan participants were found to burn 14% more calories, on average, after meals than before switching diets. This calorie-burning boost from vegan diets occurs for several reasons, chiefly, vegan diets tend to be filled with whole grains, legumes, and vegetables, which are all high in fibers, that helps regulate digestion, and also takes a lot of energy to digest.
You can eat carbs and still lose weight
Plant-based unprocessed foods also primarily contain a lot of complex carbs, which are naturally low in calories but nutritionally dense. So, even though the participants in the study weren't asked to restrict calories, the ones in the Vegan group ended up eating an average of 350 calories less each day. Participants also had sufficient amount of protein in their diet, and only supplemented with vitamin B12, an essential nutrient that can be hard to get from plant-based foods. Participants in the vegan group also showed improvements to insulin sensitivity, an important factor in maintaining stable blood sugar levels and preventing type 2 diabetes.
All in all, this study proved to be a ringing endorsement of the benefits of a diet rich in good carbs, specifically a plant-based diet that is rich in complex carbs, high in fiber, and low in saturated fats and sugar, with sufficient amount of protein and healthy fats.