Weight Loss Research

Editor’s Note: This page is a list of weight loss research and resources from this article by Dr. Mike Israetel, which challenges a popular dieting approach to fat loss, weight gain, and belly fat. To read the full article, click here.

Weight Loss Research on Glycemic Index

Almost no difference in outcomes for 36 weeks of low-glycemic load diet in obese

No difference on health outcomes of high or low GI diet over 5 weeks

Relationship of GI to markers of health unclear

No differences in outcomes between low and high GI diets over 10 weeks (including satiety)

Review indicating some benefit in weight loss for low glycemic diets

2013 review indicating no anthropometric (fat loss included) differences between high and low glycemic index and load diets (This is the biggest nail in the coffin right here, as it’s a comprehensive review and is recent)

Weight Loss Research On Food Reward

Overall review of the food reward hypothesis

Additional research here

Increased Hunger and Slowed Metabolism

Extreme levels of overeating when high palatability food is presented

Energy restriction (for a whole year) shows only small (yet significant) declines in metabolic rate

Weight Loss Research and Metabolic Changes

MASSIVE weight loss rates (18kg in only 12 weeks) resulted in 67% of the weight loss predicted from NO metabolic adaptations. Thus, the idea that a slowed metabolism could account for a stoppage of weight loss is not in evidence. Furthermore, not all of the difference is explained by metabolic rate slowdown, further weakening its explanatory role in preventing weight loss

Metabolic changes only account for 120 calories–on average–of difference in metabolism during dieting, on average

Study showing 230 calories lower metabolism for a diet of 700 calories lower than maintenance levels (obviously not enough to stall weightloss)

The Yo-Yo Effect: Weight Regain

Weight regain occurs often, strategies to help it unclear

Review of behavioral interventions on weight regain show only small benefits

Weight regain for most diets highly common, solutions unclear

Weight Loss and Blood Sugar

Obese people have HIGHER blood glucose levels and HIGHER blood fat levels, not lower

Low-Carb Diets vs. Low-Fat Diets vs. Calorie Intake

Both low-fat and lowcarb nutrition plans work, no clear winner in this study either

Possible slight edge to low-carb, but results largely equivocal

No meaningful difference in weight loss of low-fat and low-carb

In controlled settings, most popular diets work about the same if they restrict energy to the same extent

The Science of Obesity

Fat went down only a small amount over time, carbs and calories up by a bunch

Percent of energy from fat decreased by only 3% from 1971-2006, but obesity went up 20%

Vegetarians and vegans take in much more carbohydrate, but are less overweigh than omnivores

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