Forget protein and carbs: focus on calories, researchers say

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Indy Lifestyle Online

If you're looking to lose weight, especially if you have Type 2 diabetes, new research suggests that focusing on curbing overall calories, rather than carbohydrate or protein intake, is the key to success.

In a study from the University of Otago in Wellington, New Zealand, researchers tracked around 300 overweight men and women between the ages of 35 and 75 who underwent a two-year nutritional program. All participants had a body mass index over 27 and all had Type 2 diabetes.

The researchers randomly assigned the subjects to one of two diet plans, one high in protein, another high in carbs, with similar calorie intake. Both diet plans yielded similar positive results.

The good news, the researchers said, is that while making dietary changes is difficult, the results of the study suggest people can choose which diet strategy works best for them, or even switch over time if they get bored.

"I think there are two key messages from this study," said study lead author Jeremy D. Krebs in a statement. "The first is that no matter what diet we prescribe, people find it extremely difficult to sustain the changes from their habitual diet over a long time. But if they are able to follow either a high-protein diet or a high-carbohydrate diet, they can achieve modest weight loss."

The researchers reported the results on Sunday, June 26, in San Diego, California, at the American Diabetes Association meeting.

This study follows research just announced that suggests an extreme calorie-restriction diet can reverse Type 2 diabetes in eight weeks. Volunteers slashed calories to just 600 calories a day, consuming only specially formulated drinks and non-starchy vegetables (broccoli, asparagus, cabbage, etc.) for two months.

Within a week, blood sugar levels returned to normal. Within months after returning to a normal diet, seven of the 11 volunteers remained free of the disease.

Researchers advise that any extreme diet of this nature be undertaken only under medical supervision. Also more research needs to be done to see whether the reversal of diabetes will remain in the long term.

Read more about Type 2 diabetes: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001356

Read diabetic diet tips: http://diabetes.webmd.com/diabetes-diet-healthy-diet-basics

 

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