Eating Do’s and Don’ts: A Low-Carb Diet May Stimulate Metabolic Rate

By Jacqueline Katz

Eating do’s and don’ts have been in flux for decades. But, policy and dietary guidelines have generally endowed the theory that calorie restriction stimulates weight loss. A recent finding published in the BMJ contradicts this conventional idea.

This attention-grabbing study is among the largest and most costly feeding trials and reports observed metabolic differences among adults on low- and high-carb diets. The investigation’s key discovery was that overweight participants who replaced calories in carbohydrates with those in healthy fats burned approximately 250 additional calories each day. It is commonly accepted among the scientific community that refined carbohydrates drive insulin levels, which promotes fat storage. The study also measured the effect of carbohydrate intake on ghrelin, a hormone secreted in the stomach that lowers energy expenditure. Individuals on the low-carb diet saw notable decreases in ghrelin production, which is cited as one reason why decreasing carbohydrate consumption prompted an increase metabolic rate.

The authors of the study also stipulate that this research should not be taken as an excuse to avoid fruits and unprocessed whole grain products; the trial primarily condemned refined carbohydrates with added sugars. This study may inform the way in which we tackle the obesity epidemic plaguing the United States, although more research to corroborate this conclusion must be completed before public health policy is changed to reflect this finding.

O'connor, A. (2018, November 14). How a Low-Carb Diet Might Help You Maintain a Healthy Weight. Retrieved from