Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Carbs fuel appetite, study concludes

A new study of obese diabetics shows why the pounds melt so quickly with low-carbohydrate diets _ carbs fuel appetite.

"We proved that people lose weight on the Atkins diet because they eat less (consume fewer calories), not because they get bored with the diet or lose body water or because the carbohydrate calories are treated differently by the body than fat or protein calories," said Dr. Guenther Boden, a professor of medicine who specializes in diabetes and metabolism at Temple University in Philadelphia.

The study, published Tuesday in the Annals of Internal Medicine, used 10 volunteers who spent three weeks in hospital rooms, the first on their regular diet, the last two on the restricted-carbs diet.

All the subjects had mild type 2 diabetes (in which the body either doesn't produce enough insulin or doesn't efficiently use what it produces to break down sugar). Almost 80 percent of diabetics are overweight or obese, compounding health risks such as heart disease and stroke. Boden wanted to examine how a low-carb diet, which has been shown to produce rapid weight loss, would affect weight, appetite and blood-sugar levels in obese diabetics.

Most other recent studies of the Atkins diet have allowed patients to stay at home and self-report their diet and exercise. But in the new study, the patients stayed in the hospital to ensure exact measurements of calorie intake and expenditure.

During the first week, the patients could eat anything and as much as they wanted, and they ate an average of 3,111 calories a day, and about 300 grams of carbohydrates a day.

In the following two weeks, when restricted to 20 grams of carbs a day, and despite readily available protein and high-fat foods, the patients ate about 1,000 fewer calories a day, a calorie intake considered appropriate to their height and weight. And they lost an average of about 3.6 pounds each.

Along with the calorie reduction and weight loss, the patients experienced substantial improvement in blood glucose levels and insulin sensitivity, as well as lower triglycerides and cholesterol.

"Although they could have, they did not compensate by eating more proteins and fats, and they weren't bored by the food choices. In fact, they loved the diet. This indicates to me that it was the carbohydrates (they had been eating) that stimulated the excess appetite," Boden said.

"They spontaneously reduced their calories by about 1,000 calories a day. One gram of fat equals nine calories, so doing the math, you can determine how much fat will be lost by cutting 1,000 calories," Boden said.

He cautioned that the long-term health effects of low-carb diets are not known, and that it's uncertain whether other types of diets might have a similar impact on obese diabetics, something he hopes will be investigated.

People seeking to lose weight don't have to cut carbs as drastically as the Atkins diet calls for, Boden said, but "the message is: calories count. If you want to lose weight, you have to decrease your food intake or increase your physical activity. But it helps to know that carbohydrates make it more difficult to reduce your caloric intake, so with fewer carbs, you're going to eat fewer total calories a day."

Comment: There is no question that high glycemic carbs like grains, cereals and breads and sugar containing foods and drinks, increase appetite by increasing insulin levels. While the Atkins Diet is effective at normalizing insulin and blood sugar levels, it does so by using more fats than is necessary, and therefore is not as effective as the HealthPointe Program in losing body fat.
To learn more about the HealthPointe program see WEIGHTLOSS

Also see what else elevated insulin does to your health: SYNDROME X



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